A SPECTRAL GEOLOGY is the initial outcome of a continuing investigation into new conceptions of the relationship between sound, memory, historical agency and time. Treating sound as a geological phenomenon creates speculative possibilities for hearing the past in new ways that can act to counter the narrative-based, official tellings of history. Like other geological phenomena, sound can lay dormant, sedimentary and stratified in a site. It can erode, petrify and dissolve. It can be excavated, and with it traces of past agency.

In this first instalment of the project, this paradigmatic approach has been applied to a series of contested sites in the former Yugoslav republics of the Western Balkans. These sites have been variously subjected to material decay, commemoration, forgetting, erasure, destruction and revision. Regardless of any official claims on the sites, they are living, dynamic places, imprinted with renewed agency, both human and non-human, on a daily basis. The work invites the audience to consider these sites as if the sounds of the past always remain audible, regardless of voice. Textual and photographic materials act as prompts for this process whilst simultaneously highlighting the arbitrary nature of many dominant and received readings of sites.

N.B. Best experienced in full screen mode on desktop browser using headphones.

D.A.Calf is a sound and installation artist, musician, field recordist, composer, sound designer, researcher and producer with a particular interest in explorations of memory, serialisation, duration, place, erasure and trace. These themes are explored through sonic cartography, performance, installation, research and archival work.

i. A Topology of Phantoms
—— Figs 1.3–1.5 (captions): Amelia Barikin, Sound Fossils and Speaking Stones: Towards a Mineral Ontology of Contemporary Art (2017), in C. Braddock (ed.) Animism in Art and Performance.

ii. Mineralisation
—— Figs 2.3–2.4 (captions): Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years Of Nonlinear History (2000).

iii. As locus
—— Figs 3.3–3.6 (captions): Daniel Kiš, Garden, Ashes (1965).

iV. Ashes
—— Fig. 4.3 (image): From: Situacija spomeničkog kompleksa in Izgradnja (1980), Vol.1.

V. Dust
—— Fig. 5.4 (caption): W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants (1993).

Vi. Smoke
—— Fig. 6.3 (caption): D.W. Meinig, quoted in: Tim Ingold, The Temporality of the Landscape (1993), in World Archaeology, 25(2).

Vii. Turbulences
—— Figs 7.3–7.6 (captions): Yugoslovenka - Lepa Brena (Diskoton, 1989). Lyrics - M. Mandić, Music - M. Cajić.

iX. One stratum upon another
—— Fig. 9.3 (image): J. Dukić, V. Dukić, M. Marić & I. Zolo (eds), A Little History of Košute (2017).
—— Fig. 9.3 (caption): Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History (1950).
—— Fig. 9.5 (caption): Ibid.

Xii. Null / Totality
—— Fig. 12.5 (image): Normala.ba, Medeno polje, ledina na kojoj Dodik ‘štiti’ svoj narod od migranata. (26 August 2019).

XV. It’s all still here, there
—— Figs 15.3–15.6 (captions): Eduardo Cadava, Words of Light (1997).

XVii. Sediment
—— Figs 17.3 (image): Still from Професорот (The Professor) (2020) Dir. Jordan Dukov.
—— Figs 17.4 (image): www.muzejgevgelija.mk
—— Figs 17.3–17.7 (captions): W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (1995).

XViii. An index
—— Figs 18.3–18.11 (captions): Borislav Pekić, Houses (1970).

XiX. Erosion contra erasure
—— Figs 19.3–18.6 (captions): Delo.si, Pučnikov moto je bil, čimprej ven iz Jugoslavije (24 October 2020).

XX. Des Aides-memoires
—— Figs 19.3 (image): From the collection of Muzeja krščanstva na Slovenskem (Slovene Museum of Christianity), Stična, Slovenia.
—— Figs 19.3–19.6 (captions): Daša Drndić, Belladonna (2015).

XXii. Sermons for dirty ears
—— Fig. 22.5 (image): www.radionica-arhitekture.hr/memorijal-vodotoranj-2
—— Fig. 22.5 (caption): CroatiaWeek, Vukovar Water Tower – a symbol of Croatian unity undergoes major developments (29 August 2020).

XXiii. Tectonics
—— Figs 23.3–23.5 (images): Stills from Neželjena Baština (Unwanted Heritage) (2016) Dir. Irena Škorić.
—— Figs 23.3–23.5 (captions): Taken from Ibid.

© 2020 D.A.Calf

A Spectral Geology

Kosmaj [N44°28'04.3", E20°34'18.3"]

XViGrain 16/23

Fig. 16.1

Споменик борцима Космајског одреда

Fig. 16.2


Fig. 16.3

*dimension of sound particles omitted

A constant oscillation between compression and rarefaction.

The elements coagulate, they are sequestered, but only ever for a time. Until they swing back towards dissolution, where past some threshold they relative buoyancy they come to flow in waterways - rivers, xylem and various other living vascular systems - in the air as smoke and as dust, or they are moved around the crust. We can see these paths outlined in tree rings, cliff faces, the iris, in proteins like keratin.

How can we say that the mental traces of past agency, that we inarticulately call memories, are any different? They coalesce, erode and are endlessly recombined. The imprint of bodies in sound is also a form of grain. A grain that migrates, settles, is shaken up (and then not).

Fig. 16.4

The municipalities of Сопот and Младеновац have been deforested by 0.77% and 0.53% respectively since 2000.

Ulcinj [N41°55'25.8", E19°12'20.6"]

iiMineralisation 2/23

Fig. 2.1

Spomenik Pobjede / Споменик Побједе / Përmendorja e Lirisë

Fig. 2.2


We live in a world populated by structures—a complex mixture of geological, biologi­cal, social, and linguistic con­structions that are nothing but accumulations of materials shaped and hardened by his­ tory. Immersed as we are in this mixture, we cannot help but interact in a variety of ways with the other historical constructions that surround us, and in these interactions we generate novel combinations, some of which possess emergent properties.

In turn, these syner­gistic combinations, whether of human origin or not, become the raw material for further mixtures. This is how the population of struc­tures inhabiting our planet has acquired its rich variety, as the entry of novel materials into the mix triggers wild proliferations of new forms.

The rocks and mountains that define the most stable and durable traits of our reality would merely represent a local slowing down of this flowing reality. It is almost as if every part of the mineral world could be defined simply by specifying its chemical composition and its speed of flow: very slow for rocks, faster for lava. Similarly, our individual bodies and minds are mere coagulations or decelerations in the flows of biomass, genes, memes, and norms. Here, too, we might be defined both by the materials we are temporarily binding or chain-ing to our organic bodies and cultural minds and by the timescale of the binding opera­tion.1

  1. Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years Of Nonlinear History (2000). 

Fig. 2.3

Reality is a single matter-energy undergoing phase transitions of various kinds with each new layer of accumulated ‘stuff’ simply enriching the reservoir of non-linear dynamics and non-linear conbinatronics available for the generation of novel structures and processes.

Fig. 2.4

Rocks and winds, germs and words, are all different manifestations of this dynamic material reality, or, in other words, they all represent the different ways in which this single matter-energy expresses itself.

Barutana [N42°23'38.3", E19°08'30.3"]

ViSmoke 6/23

Fig. 6.1

споменик погинулим љешњанима

Fig. 6.2


Not until I found myself abroad did I notice that my fellow countrymen communicate in a kind of half-language, half-swallowing their words and uttering semi-sounds. I experience my native language as an attempt by a linguistic invalid to convey even the simplest thought through gestures, grimaces and intonations. Conversations among my compatriots seem long, exhausting and devoid of content.Instead of talking, they seem to be stroking each other with words, spreading a smooth, sonorous saliva over one another.

That’s why I have the feeling I’m learning to speak from scratch here. And it’s not easy. I’m constantly on the lookout for breathing spaces to deal with the fact that I can’t express what I have in mind. And there’s the larger question of whether a language that hasn’t learned to depict reality, complex as the inner experience of that reality may be, is capable of doing anything at all - telling stories, for instance.1

  1. Dubravka Ugrešić, The Ministry of Pain (2004). 

But we should resist the temptation to assume that since stories are stories they are, in some sense, unreal or untrue, for this is to suppose that the only real reality, or true truth, is one in which we, as living, experiencing beings, can have no part at all. Telling a story is not like weaving a tapestry to cover up the world, it is rather a way of guiding the attention of listeners or readers into it. A person who can tell is one who is perceptually attuned to picking up information in the environment that others, less skilled in the tasks of perception, might miss, and the teller, in rendering his knowledge explicit, conducts the attention of his audience along the same paths as his own.1

  1. Tim Ingold, The Temporality of the Landscape (1993), in World Archaeology, 25(2). 

The assembled papers of S—— K—— R——, are kept inconspicuously in a cousin’s spare bedroom in Petrovac-na-Moru. They are assembled in the loosest sense of the word: no archivists or librarians have ordered their motley contents or developed an organisational logic for the abundance of correspondence, photographs, slides, visa forms, other bureaucratic paperwork, and diverse ephemera that are neatly bundled into sacks and stored in low-light quarters.1

  1. Anna Kats, Svetlana Kana Radević (1937-2000), in The Architectural Review (13 March 2020). 

Fig. 6.3

one should not overlook the fact that life must be lived amidst that which was made before

Vukovar [N45°19'49.4", E19°01'02.7"]

XXiiSermons for dirty ears 22/23

Fig. 22.1

Spomen-park Dudik

Fig. 22.2

+354 ft

Fig. 22.3

the patina of time (pt.I)

A flowing archive of history, a warehouse of wars and love, of legends and myths. It is a coronary artery nourishing the banks. It holds its internal organs in so that they do not spill over.1

  1. Daša Drndić, Trieste (2007). 

Fig. 22.4

the patina of time (pt.II)

Seven-thousand citizens, from all over the world — practically every continent, they say — contributed to the rebuilding. A giant, drained phallus, looming over the Danube, intending for its symbolic virility to cast a shadow over its former aggressor. Memory here gets usurped. Put into the service of a meek nationalism, suffocating all and any call for nuance. Where it could mark the futility of all that that chest beating leads to. Of course they will say that’s exactly what it’s designed for. Meanwhile the diaspora continues.

Fig. 22.5

The works on the first phase should be completed on October 1, 2020, and the value of the performed works is HRK 32,036,327.59 with VAT. The second phase included the construction of ancillary facilities – a cafe with a children’s playground and public toilets, an auditorium overlooking the Danube and the park, and all works were completed on September 25, 2019. The value of the performed works is HRK 8,259,329.40 with VAT and a contractual penalty of 5% of the net price of HRK 374,803.36 without VAT was charged.

Just outside of town I thought I saw my friend. On a wall, a small photo, framed, black and white. A memorial to him and many others. It was of course not him. But this person in front of me, frozen in time, connected with a memory of someone I knew, frozen in my memory. I hadn’t seen the person I knew in many months but now I think of him whenever I come across this photo of a photo. He doesn’t know about this other less fortunate him. I’ve still yet to talk to him again.

Fig. 22.6

...out of the quiet, subterranean poetry of dreams and the subconscious.

Podgarić [N45°38'27.0", E16°46'39.6"]

XXDes aides-memoires 20/23

Fig. 20.1

Spomenik Revolucije Naroda Moslavine

Fig. 20.2


Fig. 20.3

Old age and memory weave themselves into time and come increasingly to resemble plaits

People collect idiocies to remember things by because that’s easier for them, there’s no strain – walks, landscapes, smells and touches, there’s no time for that while life flows, or for most people trickles, he realises that now.

Fig. 20.4

...time is in fact a whirlpool in which past and present events circle, prehistory and post-history, in an eternal embrace.

People half-wittedly arrange all their life paragraphs on shelves and walls and from time to time cast them an icy smile in passing and say, stay there, wait for me.

Fig. 20.5

And as the future collapses, as there is in fact no future, the time that is coming is wrapped in the past like a scroll becoming the underground world of the future, a world obsessed with everything old.

When the lights begin to fade, people imagine that they will be together again, they and their derelict past squeezed into small dead objects, that they will touch each other again, tell each other mislaid, withered tales. Some hope. Memories die as soon as they are plucked from their surroundings, they burst, lose colour, lose suppleness, stiffen like corpses. All that remains are shells with translucent edges.

Fig. 20.6

There is no construction without stitches, everywhere there are fragments, because it is out of ruins, out of wrecks, out of discarded parts that the new comes into being.

One’s mental archive is locked, it languishes in the dark. The past is riddled with holes, souvenirs can’t help here. Everything must be thrown away. Everything. And perhaps everyone as well.1

  1. Daša Drndić, Belladonna (2015). 

Fig. 20.7
Tjentište [N43°20'46.0", E18°41'12.6"]

VDust 5/23

Fig. 5.1

The Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Complex in the Valley of Heroes

Fig. 5.2


For me L. became a riddle only some ten years later, when a half-truth, long, long unspoken in my family, acquired outlines, when, like wormholes, those penetrations into space and time, into new spaces and a new time, it began to create shortcuts towards a journey, that often dangerous and destructive journey the end of which cannot be seen. But some years later, all that rubbish, all that rot and rubble settled and we began to step over it, softly at first, trying not to disturb the dust, then we collected the shards of that past, all those splinters, we buried all that debris and moved on.1

  1. Daša Drndić, E.E.G. (2016). 

Fig. 5.3

Common particles sizes

The low whirr of the projector began and the dust in the room, normally invisible, glittered and danced in the beam of light by way of a prelude to the pictures themselves.1

  1. W.G. Sebald, The Emigrants (1993). 

Fig. 5.4

And the last remnants memory destroys.

Ostra [N43°54'41.5", E20°30'59.7"]

XXiOccupations 21/23

Fig. 21.1

Spomenik hrabrima / Споменик мужевима

Fig. 21.2


Bones on bones
and faces upon faces.

Rootstock entangled beneath the surface despite the once verdant foliage having been sheared away.

What was once a bare hill
is now overcrowded.

Fig. 21.3

The letters have peeled and been pried away.

One aims at a future by looking backward, the other at a past by looking forward.

Fig. 21.4

Territorial comings and goings.
These sites with porous boundaries.

Fig. 21.5

Avala [N44°41'19.7", E20°30'50.6"]

XViiiAn index 18/23

Fig. 18.1

Spomenik sovjetskim ratnim veteranima / Споменик совјетским ратним ветеранима

Fig. 18.2


The radio signals from here spread far in every direction dressing the plains in unheard sound, settling on the earth, permeating its sediment.

95.3 MHz

97.6 MHz

98.5 MHz

104.0 MHz

Fig. 18.3

The changes have gone on everywhere,

Fig. 18.4

except on the river.

Fig. 18.5

Only the age-old water,

Fig. 18.6

with its constant colour

Fig. 18.7

and unhurried, tranquil flow,

Fig. 18.8

gives to the view that consistency

Fig. 18.9

without which its transformation,

Fig. 18.10

however otherwise imposing,

Fig. 18.11

would be to the highest degree suspicious.

The changes have gone on everywhere,
except on the river.
Only the age-old water,
with its constant colour
and unhurried, tranquil flow,
gives to the view that consistency
without which its transformation,
however otherwise imposing,
would be to the highest degree suspicious.1

  1. Borislav Pekić, Houses (1970). 

Fig. 18.12

Man strives upward, forgetting what lies beneath.

M. Polje [N44°34'18.7", E16°17'23.1"]

XiiNull / Totality 12/23

Pop. (1991): 92; (2013): 0

concrete plinths
missing Douglas C-47 Skytrain
agricultural sheds
where did those 92 people go?

Fig. 12.1

Spomenik partizanskoj zračnoj eskadrili

Fig. 12.2


Sound - wave
Geology - particle
Memory -

How can we think of these things as intermingling, interdependent even?

B. on duration: we can no longer think of existence as something able to be broken down into smaller intervals. Our existence is thus embodied. A wave cannot be broken down. We conveniently break down material, box it particularly. But this is not how it behaves. So what is strata? How does it behave? To what does it converse? Do particles travel whilst standing still?

What if we supposed that every sound ever made still exists? That, post-audible, it coalesces on the floor of the forest like silt in a river, like dust on a shelf, maintaining potential all the while. But this coalescing does not see sound absorbed into amorphous, representationless, meaningless magma. Or rather, not only this. It arrives, each particle arrives as a result of past causation. Our sonic geological strata is imprinted with the past. Modern science may not yet offer us the means to hear these inaudibilities, but they cannot deny their potential. Regardless, this is not a forum for deterministic notions of science and non-transcendental forms of empiricism. Rather it is a place for speculation.

For imagining what if and for wondering whether it matters either way. This is a time for opposing totalising forms of top-down history. But not for exalting the histories that emanate from soils. Both things exist but they can not be separated.

Existence is only meaningful through thinking about duration (again B.) and that duration cannot be subdivided like we fallaciously and silently agree to subdivide time, thinking all the while that it is so bound up with space, as K. told us and as we’ve never questioned subsequently). But we must distinguish between the qualitative and the quantitative. I have (following D.’s suggestion) slipped in through the backdoor to create a monster of some mummified but welcoming remains. Some of this B. said and some I wish he’d said. But he had his regard subsumed for a while and bean counters took over. R. argued B. didn’t even understand mathematics. But he knew how to dream and that it is better to peg your bets on something life-affirming and inexact-able than to scrape away at some unattainable truth and go mad in the process.

Fig. 12.3


I don’t have hate.

Fig. 12.4

Fig. 12.5

You can hear the dogs – Tornjak. A local herding breed. Set back from the highway, a series of agricultural sheds. The only structure in the area besides the monument. A dozen Tornjak laze by the entrance. There are no humans. There is a dead dog amongst them. A large, dark corpse crumbling in on itself. This is where those sounds were coming from. At that moment the sheds were a topic of discussion. A proposal to house the 40,000 refugees who had been corralled into the area, hoping to get across the next border. The sheds had been offered up.

But the 92 missing people objected to the destruction of their way of life.

Fig. 12.6

Popina [N43°37'48.9", E20°57'29.6"]

XiVA Generative Cartography 14/23

Fig. 14.1

Mausoleum to the Fallen Insurgents

Fig. 14.2


Fig. 14.3


Fig. 14.4


Fig. 14.5


Fig. 14.6


What to do with the lives around us, within us? How to classify them? They are and they are not examined lives, monochrome canvases with blots, smudges, freckles scattered over a space made up of shackled time. Examined lives (canvases), criss-crossed with shallow, empty spaces, dappled with little bumps – hillocks – and narrow furrows, cuttings, grooves, many alike, in which slow stagnant waters swirl. Lives with rounded edges, easily catalogued, easily connected, easily nailed onto the shelves of memory. And forgotten there.
Then, those others: lives criss-crossed, entangled, knotted with veins, scars, clefts which continue to breathe under the gravestones
over the little mounds of our being, scabbed-over wounds that still bleed within. Impenetrable lives.

They flicker in the darkness, sending out little sparks of light, fluorescent, like the bones of corpses. Placed side by side, there is no current between them, because both these kinds of life collapse into themselves, silently and menacingly like rising waters.1

  1. Daša Drndić, Trieste (2007). 

Fig. 14.7


Mirna [N45°57'15.7", E15°03'53.7"]

XiOn sequestration 11/23

Fig. 11.1

Spomenik padlim na Rojah

Fig. 11.2


The wedding rings of Novi Mesto

In the town of
offered up their
wedding rings to be melted down
and reformed
into a single gold heart
to be presented to Tito.

Fig. 11.3

Once a promising young poet came by. His presence was deemed suspicious and he was suspected of being part of the other side. He was tried in the local tavern, somewhat informally.

The rumour that he had been tortured was later debunked. It had been the animals of the forest that had gnawed at the soles of his feet, exposed from the shallow grave, returned to the surrounds.

Fig. 11.4

Fig. 11.5

Drvar [N44°22'27.3", E16°22'58.9"]

XToward history 10/23

surrounding mountains
the Vrelo

Fig. 10.1

Spomenik poginulim borcima nacionalnooslobodilačkog rata iz Drvara

Fig. 10.2


Fig. 10.3

Fig. 10.4

Drvo (wood)
Fir and spruce in the surrounding mountains. The lumber mill, the cellulose factory. Then the stores, schools, cafés, hotels, and on. Eventually, electricity was supplied to the surrounding villages and tourists arrived. Other Yugoslavs, Germans, Austrians… All from the wood. The rings that told of previous events. Recycled.

Keys to vacant homes. The tourists stayed away. Still the chainsaws but the mill remained quiet. And timber disappeared from a divided city.
In 1996 the concrete limbs fell. There has been talk of resurrection. So far only a crucifix stands nearby.
And the Motel Bastašica. Where people no longer stay but once came. The sounds seep through the floorboards, the foundations and into the Vrelo. Stalactites.

Fig. 10.5

Sisak [N45°30'09.6", E16°27'30.2"]

XXiiiTectonics 23/23

Fig. 23.1

Brezovica Spomen-Park

Fig. 23.2


Fig. 23.3

I'm speechless

Fig. 23.4

it's not easy seeing my work like this

Fig. 23.5

as if history can be erased by doing so

And, like R. before his death, I collect crumbs. Scraps of paper, small coins, shreds. My gaze is constantly drawn to the ground, and as soon as I catch sight of anything I get up, stop what I’m doing and pick up those grains, those fragments, those slivers and lay them on my palm.1

  1. Daša Drndić, E.E.G. (2016). 

Fig. 23.6

sand over sand over sand over sand

Jasenovac [N45°16'49.4", E16°55'42.2"]

XVIt’s all still here, there 15/23

Fig. 15.1

Cvjetni spomenik

Fig. 15.2


And, like R. before his death, I collect crumbs. Scraps of paper, small coins, shreds. My gaze is constantly drawn to the ground, and as soon as I catch sight of anything I get up, stop what I’m doing and pick up those grains, those fragments, those slivers and lay them on my palm.1

  1. Daša Drndić, E.E.G. (2016). 

Fig. 15.3

To say that history withdraws from sight or understanding is not to say that history is what is past, but rather that it passes away;

Fig. 15.4

...not that it has disappeared, but rather that it "threatens to disappear"; it is always on the verge of disappearing, without disappearing.

Fig. 15.5

The possibility of history is bound to the survival of the traces of what is past and to our ability to read these traces as traces.

Our preoccupation with history, so H.’s thesis has been, is preoccupation with pre-fabricated images engraved on the inside of our heads, at which we constantly stare while the truth lies somewhere else, in an offside that has not yet been discovered by anyone. 1

  1. W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz (2001). 

Fig. 15.6

That these traces are marked historically does not mean that they belong to a specific time.

Bratunac [N44°11'02.8", E19°19'43.5"]

iiiAs locus 3/23

football field
broken bench earth-moving
2km 10km

Fig. 3.1

Spomen-Park Bratunac / Спомен-парк Братунац

Fig. 3.2


Fig. 3.3

In my dreams, I covered the same territory as in my waking life, but my consciousness kept a different time from real time, or rather of time outside time.

Fig. 3.4

The eternity of the world and the worthlessness of my own life within this enormous passage of time had become obvious, almost palpable.

Fig. 3.5

I found the eternity that was denied me in my waking life but dominated me in my dreams,

Fig. 3.6

...seductive as well as painful.

I’m trying to listen before the war. The football field behind me, the road out of town, earth-moving equipment. All powerful actors once. Now they are something else. And will be something else again tomorrow.

Ko će krivu ispraviti Drinu?

Fig. 3.7

Kadinjača [N43°54'43.7", E19°44'33.7"]

iVAshes 4/23

10km highway

Fig. 4.1

Спомен комплекс Кадињача

Fig. 4.2


Mitar Tarabić (1829–1899), an illiterate peasant from a small Serbian village called Kremna, had experienced occasional prophetic visions. Being a religious person and having a local Serbian orthodox priest for a godfather, he told this priest about his episodes of “seeing into the future”.

The priest wrote down everything in a small notebook, which was damaged by fire in 1943 when his family house was destroyed by the occupying Bulgarian army. Tarabić’s best-known prophecy has to do with a series of political events in 19th century Serbia. He predicted a sequence of events spanning a course of decades. This prophecy came to be known in the region as the ‘black prophecy’, and it did play out as predicted.1

  1. Adapted from www.yurope.com/people/sen/

Fig. 4.3

Situacija spomeničkog kompleksa

Fig. 4.4

Čenej [N45°19'23.3", E19°49'44.9"]

iA Topology of Phantoms 1/23

Fig. 1.1

Monument to the Novi Sad Partisan Detachment

Fig. 1.2


Fig. 1.3

A sound...

Fig. 1.4


Fig. 1.5

...in material form.

The air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are forever written all that man has ever said or woman whispered.

There, in their mutable but unerring characters, mixed with the earliest, as well as with the latest sighs of mortality, stand for ever recorded, vows unredeemed, promises unfulfilled, perpetuating in the united movements of each particle, the testimony of man’s changeful will.

But if the air we breathe is the never-failing historian of the sentiments we have uttered, earth, air, and ocean, are the eternal witnesses of the acts we have done.1

  1. Charles Babbage, “On the Permanent Impression of our Words and Actions on the Globe We Inhabit” in The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise (1838). 

Fig. 1.6

no where a wasteland

Will we ever come to terms with the times?

What does that even mean?
Very little.

Fig. 1.7

the possibility of time without thought

Višmarje [N46°06'38.9", E14°27'24.2"]

XiXerosion contra erasure 19/23

Fig. 19.1

Spomenik v Vizarjevem ljudskem taboru

Fig. 19.2


Fig. 19.3

Druga polovica oktobra pred tridesetimi leti je bila v Sloveniji in Jugoslaviji zelo burna in dramatična.

The worst was in Luče, an idyllic village in the Upper Savinja Valley, where the inhabitants encountered centuries-old waters. In nearby Podvolovljek, a large landslide dammed the Lučnica stream and brought several houses and centuries-old farms under water. Since the village was cut off from the world, they had to bring help by helicopter, and among the goods that the villagers needed the most were boots in the first days.

Fig. 19.4

Delo, ki je izšlo v petek, 26. oktobra 1990, je bilo natrpano s poročili o takratnem vrenju v družbi in politiki.

Statistics showed that a total of more than 52,000 hectares of agricultural land were flooded, at least 2,500 kilometres of roads were damaged, 20 kilometres of railways were destroyed, and 96 bridges were destroyed. 1200 landslides were triggered. 190 houses were destroyed and more than 5,000 damaged.

Fig. 19.5

Kljub velikemu časopisnemu formatu, večjemu od današnjega Dela, so vanj morali tlačiti poročila o dogajanju, da bi lahko zajeli vso dinamiko takratnega časa.

Experts, especially from the hydrological profession, have warned that we will not be able to completely avoid similar catastrophes, but we can reduce them by maintaining natural riverbeds, preventing erosion in torrential hinterlands and shorter regulations in settlements.1

  1. Delo.si, Voda je zalila pol države
    (30 October 2020). 

Fig. 19.6

Še sedanji mediji bi tako veliko dogodkov težko spravili med svoje bralce in gledalce.

Grahovo [N42°39'03.1", E18°40'19.7"]

ViiiPatina, texture, flatness 8/23

Fig. 8.1

Monument to Sava Kovačević

Fig. 8.2


Many people left for Nikšić or Podgorica after the 1979 earthquake. Few returned. The streets are still very quiet.

Fig. 8.3


Fig. 8.4


Fig. 8.5


Fig. 8.6


The effects of the earthquake can still be seen in the fissures in the town’s mineral exoskeleton. The surrounds are steadily reclaiming it all.

Fig. 8.7


Fig. 8.8


What do we see when we only look at the abstracted patina of these structures, and what falls away? I no longer see the architect, the commissioning body, the officials, the event and people which the edifice commemorates.

In their place I see labour conditions, construction processes and I see the environmental context of their positioning. I see formwork and geologies of nearby regions. FInally, I see their decay.

Fig. 8.9


Titel [N45°12'18.4", E20°18'42.8"]

ViiTurbulences 7/23

Fig. 7.1

Spomenik palim borcima i žrtvama fašizma

Fig. 7.2


Since the whole lowland river basin sits on an alluvial cone, and no rock bed exists up to a certain depth, the soil easily conducts groundwater, which emerges on the surface during high water stages. This, accompanied by high rainfall and snowmelt, saturates the soil and may cause extended water logging on the plains, with limited runoff due to the low natural gradient.

The river exhibits extreme dynamics due to its particular geomorphology: a very short, steep fall from the Carpathian mountains suddenly turns into the very flat lowland expanse of the Hungarian Great Plain. The resulting impoundment of high water in the main bed backs water up into the tributaries, threatening the neighbouring floodplain communities.1

  1. B. Borsos & J. Sendzimir, The Tisza River: Managing a Lowland River in the Carpathian Basin, in S. Schmutz & J. Sendzimir (eds) Riverine Ecosystem Management. Aquatic Ecology Series, Vol.8. (2018). 

Fig. 7.3

Odakle si lijepa đevojko?

Fig. 7.4

Ko ti rodi oko plavetno?

Fig. 7.5

Ko ti dade kosu zlaćanu?

Fig. 7.6

Ko te stvori tako vatrenu?

Košute [N43°37'40.1", E16°41'29.9"]

iXOne Stratum Upon Another 9/23

Fig. 9.1

Spomenik 1. splitskom partizanskom odredu

Fig. 9.2


Fig. 9.3

The picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognised and is never seen again...For every image of the past that is not recognised by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably.

As part of Košuta Day, the ninth Children’s Festival The microphone is yours was held in Košute. There were 22 children, and the jury, which consisted of Maggie P., Laura D., Katarina D. and Iva Mačina Š., had the difficult task of choosing the best performer. Numerous audience applauded the victory of Josip D. with the song ‘Bili brode moj’, as well as the second-placed Martin Ž. who performed the song ‘Crveni Ferrari’ and the third-placed Lana P. who performed with ‘Kad sve utihne’. The program was led by Ana D. and Ena Mačina Š.1

  1. J. Dukić, V. Dukić, M. Marić & I. Zolo (eds), A Little History of Košute (2017). 

Fig. 9.4

We ate straight from the garden, the salt mill a permanent fixture beside the water tank.

Due to the delay in the construction of the playground fence in Barevine, the start of the Košuta indoor football tournament, which was scheduled for June 3, has been postponed for a week and will start on June 10 – the organisers report. Team entries for the tournament are accepted until June 7 at 6pm and the draw of pairs will be on the same day in the evening. So far, 20 teams have applied.The organisers say that during the entire tournament, a box will be placed on the playground in which visitors will be able to put their financial contribution for the ill Siniša Z. A lottery will also be organised on the final day of the tournament, and all proceeds from the lottery and voluntary contributions will be donated to Siniša. The organisers would like to thank numerous sponsors and the city of Trilj and Mayor Š. who supported this tournament and renovated the playground in Barevine for this occasion.

Soon after comes the first domestication of minerals, the few ounces of limestone or silicone needed by undecided and threatened substance in order to build itself protection or support: on the outside, shells and carapaces, and on the inside, vertebrae that are immediately articulated, adapted, and finished down to the last detail. The minerals have changed their employ, been drawn from their torpor, been adapted to and secreted by life, and so afflicted with the curse of growth—only for a brief spell, it is true. The unstable gift of sentience is always moving from place to place. And obstinate alchemy, making use of immutable models, untiringly prepares for an ever-new flesh another refuge or support. Every abandoned shelter, every porous structure combines to form, through the centuries and the centuries of centuries, a slow rain of sterile seeds. They settle down, one stratum upon another, into a mud composed almost entirely of themselves, and mud that hardens and becomes stone again. They are restored to the immutability they once renounced. Now, even though their shape may still occasionally be recognised in the cement where they are embedded, that shape is no more than a cipher, a sign denoting the transient passage of a species.1

  1. Roger Caillois, L’écriture des pierres (1970). 

Fig. 9.5

To brush history against the grain.

Niš [N43°18'18.2", E21°52'21.9"]

XiiiIn the mind’s ear 13/23

Fig. 13.1

Спомен-парк Бубањ

Fig. 13.2


Fig. 13.3

The inaudible territory of sound itself. In the process of subtractive rarefaction, a remainder, a peculiar form of non-phenomenological sonority persisting in inaudibility, but not in silence. Infra-aesthetic functionalism and in my mind’s ear. Sounds (historical) are inaudible but feasibly present. We can hear these by thinking of them, just as I can conjure an image (in my mind’s eye) of a picture without seeing it.

Fig. 13.4

It becomes possible to nurture modes of engaged attention for listening is often relating us to the depths above is which may extend the cross bodies and things, persons and places. sound is a medium enabling animate contact that in oscillating and vibrating over and through all types of bodies and things produces complex ecologies of matter and energy, subjects and objects.1

  1. Brandon LaBelle, Sonic Agency (2018). 

Fig. 13.5

Hearing as basis for an insurrection.

Gevgelija [N41°09'29.6", E22°30'02.1"]

XViiSediment 17/23

Fig. 17.1

Цветот на слободата

Fig. 17.2


Fig. 17.3

It is astounding, he says, how long these thin-walled clay urns remained intact a yard underground

Beneath the town lies a necropolis. It has been dated to the seventh century (BC). Gradually it is being exhumed.

Fig. 17.4

while the sword and the ploughshare passed above them and great buildings, palaces and cloud-high towers crumbled and collapsed.

Meanwhile the aluminium sheeting on the spomenik is being torn down, piece by piece. Cashed in as scrap. Two forces of memory acting in contrary motion. Rising up/sinking down.

Fig. 17.5

The cremated remains in the urns are examined closely

And at the same time things are also moving sideward - borders, goods, people, sounds and language. Names change.

Fig. 17.6

the ash, the loose teeth, some long roots of quitch, or dog’s grass wreathed about the bones

Fig. 17.7

and the coin intended for the Elysian ferryman.