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Vesticene (2022)


There is, in the world of stratigraphy and geologic time scales, an idea that we may have recently slipped into a new epoch (whether 15,000 years ago or as recently as 1960), the Anthropocene, defined by significant and lasting human impact on the Earth and its ecosystems. The term Vesticene is a portmanteau that helps me to think about a much more personal kind of epoch, one defined by the vestiges and negative spaces left behind after the endings of things: the loss of a beloved individual, of a place, a season, or a dream. A river seems ephemeral and fleeting as it flows – living and breathing, but not fully apprehensible; when the water ultimately recedes, it leaves behind a concrete and detailed record of itself, carved into layers of rock for ages to come, encoded in mineral deposits and in the fossils of those who once lived there. Likewise, it is in imprints and relics, in lingering muscle memories and rituals, that we can finally map how substantial, how existent the now-receded presence that once occupied our space truly was.


Matt Curlee

Vesticene (Percussion Quintet with Amplified Cello and Piano)

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