I noticed this spring that I've been seeing dust everywhere. Last fall, I attended a screening of the short film “Dust” by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow-Weinstein at the New York Film Festival. The film follows a group of nomads, in an unknown desert at an unknown time (it feels in some ways to be an apocalyptic distant future, and in some ways right around the corner). These nomads are miners, mining for what appears to be their last known natural resource: dust. Eerie, haunting, beautifully shot, and poetic. The short was screened more recently in conjunction with Murrow’s current exhibit of drawings at Winston Wächter Fine Art. Watch the trailer.
This spring I reviewed Dust, a book of short writing by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko for the March/April issue of American Book Review. The book also considers the notion of dust as a thing of value by likening written words on the page to the dusty grime that fits between the bricks of city buildings, along with many other dry, heat-soaked metaphors. The dust here is distinctly Russian: Dragomoschenko writes, “In July the heat of blasting music fades, candlelight gets dim, exotic trophies get covered with a patina of chance, and the mirage of yet another golden season rises up behind your back.”
You might have also caught the recent article about contemporary art conservator Christian Scheidemann by Rebecca Mead in the New Yorker. In it, Scheidemann discusses Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), which is a work that incorporates dust from the artist's studio in the early 1900s. Talk about some valuable dust. In reference to the piece (and it’s inherent challenge to conservators), Scheidemann says “dirt [is] an artistic medium of expression [that] is still underrated.”