Tools for an Unknown Prospect
Unknown Prospect is an assemblage and collaboration with Ochre that responds to extractive industry. I am exploring methods of design in relation with the more-than-human as an alternative to design research and practices that serve infinite production and capitalist culture. Ochre is not only mineral pigment, but terrestrial beings that have an ancient relationship with human culture. I enlist these geological interlocutors in creative work and printmaking to make drawings, maps, and books that extend beyond the colonial record. Ochre not only makes color material, it activates its own agency in world-making. It realizes the desert as more than the colonial narrative of barren, criminal wasteland or public commodity. Ochre confronts the misconception of land left over as recreational ‘play-ground’ where humans can have ‘no impact’ and take no account for the erasure and enslavement of indigenous women and children. The desert is more than an abundant ecosystem with a staggering number of endemic species and access to millions of years of geological memory — these lands are the ancestral territory of sovereign indigenous tribes. This film reveals one view of the pluriverse, as seen from the desert, as told by ochre.
Ochre; ecofeminism; practice; design
Elpitha Tsoutsounakis (she/her) is a Cretan-American designer, printer, and educator based in so-called Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an Assistant Professor and founding faculty in the Multi-disciplinary Design program at the University of Utah where she teaches design studios, research methods, and visual strategy. As a first-generation college student raised in an immigrant family she completed her B.S. Architecture at the University of Utah in 2003 and her M.Arch at the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Her education in architecture informs design research and creative practice in printmaking, book arts, and Ochres engaging issues of design ethics, materiality, ecofeminism, and the human relationship to the more-than-human. She established the Fieldwork Platform to bring together diverse community partners involved in management, stewardship, and experience in so-called public lands through inter-disciplinary research, education, and publication.