Un-earthed: Plastics

Exploring waste through David Farrier's writings on plastics as future fossils.

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‘Future fossils are all around us, in our homes, in our workplaces, and even in our bodies. […I]magine how the things around you – the plastic casing of your laptop and its titanium innards or the coffee cup standing beside it – might remain, even just as an impression in stone, millions of years from now.’ (David Farrier, ‘Introduction: Traces of a Haunted Future,’ 24)

Plastic gloves and masks are our new ‘future fossils.’ Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Nottingham-based photographer Dan Giannopoulos has been taking pictures of gloves and masks littered on the streets. The first session of un-earthed will take as a starting-point his recent work to reflect on waste, plastics, deep time and ‘future fossils.’ We will discuss three texts by Edinburgh literary scholar David Farrier. Please also consider doing Farrier’s exercise of imagination with an object of your choice before the session.


Farrier, David. ‘Hand in Glove’. Orion Magazine 39, no. 3 (3 September 2020). https://orionmagazine.org/article/hand-in-glove/

Farrier, David. ‘Introduction: Traces of a Haunted Future’. In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, 3–26. London: 4th Estate, 2020. 

Farrier, David. ‘The Bottle as Hero’. In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, 89–116. London: 4th Estate, 2020. 


Published June 21, 2021 12:16 PM - Last modified June 21, 2021 12:16 PM