Emily Sevier
Arroyo/Mud
2013
Framed drywall room with mud bricks, wood stairs, and fluorescent lights
10'x10'x12'
My interest in the mud, or more specifically my interest in San Diego’s mud, began when I moved into a canyon and begin to sift through the debris. Arroyo/Mud marks a yearlong investigation into the micro landscape of this partially developed urban canyon and the tangential flows that connect it to the larger web of San Diego history. The network of canyons that fan throughout the urban grid of San Diego provide a palimpsest of forgotten layers of mundane histories that have shaped the city. The beauty of these sites is that they exist as awkward hybrids that defy standard terminology, which would place them along the nature/culture divide. Their current physical state is the result of both intentional and unintentional nurture, neglect, and abuse. The idyllic seclusion of the canyon with its tangle of feral vegetation is as much a construction as the houses that surround it. Both are part of the region’s urban development. Their histories are intertwined within shifting ecologies at the micro-level of the neighborhood to the larger regional level of the greater San Diego area. In order to understand the material and psychological contradictions of the canyon, I began a process of kneading mud gathered from the canyon and shaping it into square tiles. Through these humble objects, I am offered a glimpse into the process of the landscape’s unfolding.
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