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Steven Siegel, Like a rock, from a tree?, 2008, Gong-ju, Korea paper, from Twylene Moyer and Glenn Harper, eds., The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency, 2012, International Sculpture Center Press
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BODY AND SOIL
by James Croak



“Dirt is not dirt, but only matter in the wrong place.” Variations of this quote have been attributed to William James, Sigmund Freud, Mary Douglas, John Ruskin and a host of others, but an 1883 issue of Longman’s Magazine confirms its author was Lord Palmerston. He aired his starched Sunday shirt on a gooseberry bush only to have it flitter into the mud, but he donned it anyway, uttering this now famous line.

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