The practices of two MFA students, Inga Fillary and Natalie Tozer, one with a particular interest in digging and holes and the other in dirt and darkness come together to explore the transformative qualities of the hoodoo hexing material Goofer Dust.

Grave dirt has been used in magic ritual as far back as ancient Egypt and is still used in modern witchcraft. For purveyors of hoodoo it is mixed with other materials such as snake skin and red pepper to become goofer dust which is then used to jinx enemies or for coercive love potions or protection from evil.

The very concept of dirt as ‘dirty’ is intrinsic to the advent of culture with its founding tenets of separation from nature. Our desire for hygiene accompanied the evolution that separated us from animals. The burial of bodies is universal across most human cultures going back at least as far as Homo sapiens neandertalensis. Burying a corpse in the earth becomes a ritual of purification, thereby allowing no danger of contamination to the living. Moreover, the generative putrefaction of the decomposition process prepares for new life. According to Reza Negarestani, rot is a vitalistic metamorphosis, in which the body “both approaches an abstract, ideal limit, and also propagates itself beyond itself.”

When we dig we enter the arena of material transformation and decomposition and in imagining our deep futures and technologies via science fiction cultures, an extension of these properties is proposed – transportation. Here matter takes on an inter-dimensional potential, where soil and dirt connect the past and future crossing over into alternative realities.

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