Marginalia explores the Georgics by responding to Virgil’s description of the soil, of his prompts to see the soil as blood and stone, as time-made material. We see here a meditation on taking the words to the field; we see an experience of the Georgics.
Marginalia was made in collaboration with Katharine Earnshaw, Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter and Mary Quicke, Farmer at Quicke’s Farm. It documents a literal and metaphorical unearthing of what she describes as 'the entangled nature of soil' through walking, listening, tasting and using metal detectors at Quicke’s Farm near Exeter.
"How would you teach someone to farm? Is that the same as teaching someone about farming? In ancient Rome, Virgil wrote a poem, ‘The Georgics’, which aimed to explain the farming year to everyone. It’s a poem that covers crops and cows, soil and stars, and the human place in the universe.
The poem explains arvorum ingeniis, the ‘ingeniousness of soils’. Soil is a hard-to-define substance: it is old and new; it grows life and is the thing into which everything disintegrates. It is animal, vegetable and mineral. When it becomes ‘land’ it is inherently political; as ‘earth’ it prompts a consideration of the wider environment."
Dr Katharine Earnshaw, Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter