The conte was a literary form addressing varieg themes through often loose and unregulated literary structures, deployed expertly by La Fontaine, Perrault and Voltaire. This chapter develops a geological conteconnecting two homonymous works—Voltaire’s conte ‘Micromegas: A Philosophical Story’, written in 1752, and Daniel Libeskind’s drawn series Micromegas produced in 1979. This speculative fabulation—to invoke Donna Harraway—seeks to ‘find tangles’ by exploring the interplay of visual and material subjugations arising from representational regimes attached to surveying, recording and exploiting landscapes. Through journeys into geometry and geology, the architecture of an underworld, measure, landscape, isometry and representation, the chapter traces Maupertuis’ proposed tunnel to the centre of the Earth and the shafts and sinkings of Newtongrange colliery in Midlothian, Scotland. It traverses the conflated surfaces of the geological drawings of a Scottish landscape of coal to plot the figures of Egon Riss’ serial architectural interventions in this landscape, a megastructure for a subterranean landscape. As Harraway urges, the outcome is a tale, a geological conte, which puts into question the current status of things, the ‘now’, kainos of chthonic beings, of contemporary ‘beings of the Earth’.
|Title of host publication||Mountains and Megastructures|
|Subtitle of host publication||Neo-Geologic Landscapes of Human Endeavour|
|Editors||Martin Beattie, Christos Kakalis, Matthew Ozga-Lawn|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Mar 2021|