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My upcoming book Hacking Experience: New Tools from Cognitive Science for Artists is in preparation for Punctum Books (NYC). It's a book that translates cognitive science into tools that radically enhance the way artists tell stories. I design experiences in the physical world as a form of myth making by harnessing attention and spatial rhetoric. I'm also principal designer for Geologic Cognition Society, a post-disciplinary research-driven design group. I've lived in ChicagoEngland, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Hawai'i (among other places), Hawaii made the most sense to me. At the moment, I live in Ohio and I'm exploring the Great Lakes region for a few projects I'm wrapping up.

Find me on Twitter @RyanDewey, or get in touch here.

Virtual Places: Core Logging the Anthropocene in Real-Time

I'll be presenting at the Association of American Geographers annual meeting in April 2015 on my project that reveals traces of the anthropocene in local neighborhoods. The presentation is the documentation of a performance work that explores speculative core samples of the ad hoc geology of retail shelves. Here's the abstract and a picture of my initial test cores, although for this project I'll produce an entirely new cycle.


Supply chains have broken the first law of geography by creating localized convergences of materials gathered over massive distances. Through mines and quarries, minerals become commoditized “sediments” and experience speeds and distances of travel that surpass those otherwise possible through natural means in the same amount of time. Erosion, sedimentation, and deposition are no match for the intermodal logistician. Supply chains are geologic forces whose movement is visible in the stratigraphy of sediments on the shelves of discount department and home improvement stores. The movement of these anthropogenic patterns of geologic flow can bring together bentonite clay from Wyoming with fuller’s earth from Florida and Pacific sea salt with salt mined in Ohio all under the same roof.

This convergence of geologic materials from multiple disparate places creates a new category of local “place” that is otherwise geophysically improbable without the help of supply chains and retail shelves. This project presents a series of core samples of these displaced convergences of materials as evidence of the geography of these ad hoc virtual places. 

By recasting retail shelves as stratigraphic layers of some infrastructural landscape, core samples of this condition reveal a new sort of geologic time: the real-time accumulation of distributed-on-demand geologic components. This renders sediments as both discrete objects in packages waiting for purchase, and also as potential new elements of sedimentary deposition in the substrate of whatever town to which the logistician determined they should go.



core samples of the anthropocene