by Ann Corley Silverman

The sibilant ‘s’ slides quietly into the open oil of a liquid landfall.
Photo by Ann SilvermanA slight growl pushes air into what is round beneath the feet.

The dental stability of final sound an anchor on planet underfoot.
But here, the liquid.
No labial pout, no punctuation.

So much for definition.

Worms turn in the soil of our syntax, enriching excrementally
the nature of understanding.
All lips and liquid boundaries.
Mouthfuls of earth in endless periods.
This life. And this life. And this life.

A surface of soil, at midpoint to tree, cushions the foot.
Some surface in a plowed field sucks at the boot and removes it.

Some surfaces slip inside and under.
Feet sink into surf.
Toes splayed in mud and sand grow no roots.
Attempting, though, a pirouette,
Striking some balance of the awe-struck.

This interactive installation offers human participants an opportunity to tune into – and bodily experience – the vibrations made by tiny, soil-dwelling beings. Humans continue to be interested in detecting signals of extra-terrestrial life in outer space, but have overlooked the intra-terrestrial signals of life – the worms and insects that sustain our own terrestrial existence. This highly amplified environment allows humans a chance to appreciate these extraordinary life forms through live, amplified sounds and infrared video. Hopefully this experience will give a viewer/participant a different sense of the life inside the earth; one that goes beyond the scientific and instead approaches something more akin to fellowship, communion or appreciation.

by Amy M. Youngs

Digestive Table

An ecosystem of worms, sowbugs, plants and bacteria live and eat at this table. They are a part of the digestive system that starts with a person discarding food leftovers and shredded paper into the portal at the top. The bacteria and sowbugs begin breaking down the waste and the worms soon join in to further digest it into a rich compost that sprinkles out of the bottom of the fabric bag that hangs beneath the table. This compost is used as a fertilizer for plants, such as those at the base of the table.

The human plays an important part at the table by eating, feeding the food waste to the worms, feeding the resulting fertilizer to the plants, or by simply sitting and appreciating the living ecosystem she/he is a part of. A cross-section of the activity inside the top 9 inches of the compost is made visible using an infrared security camera connected to an LCD screen built into the table. On the screen, viewers can see the live movements of the worms and sowbugs inside.

By Amy M. Youngs