"The Era of Hopeful Monsters” by Caleb Churchill

Everywhere you go on the internet you are dropping bits of data and personal information. Traces of your identity like digital breadcrumbs. But you do something similar in the real world too. The oil stain on the pavement where you habitually park your car, the dirt path cut through the vacant lot that you take as a shortcut to the neighborhood convenience store. You leave marks of yourself and your movements everywhere.

The Era of Hopeful Monsters looks at the marks we make on our environment on both a personal and cultural scale. From paved pathways cutting through a cave turned national monument, the skid marks of someone turning donuts in a parking lot, initials and love notes carved en mass in an old growth forest to a marble sculpture of a female torso-baring the smudges from accumulated fingerprints across her breasts and belly button.


In the places we consider natural, there have been human interventions, intentional and accidental. But there are also natural interruptions in the urban places we think we control. We have made unalterable changes to our planet but this planet also pushes back. No matter where you go, you will find breadcrumbs and fingerprints of our restless and egotistical species. But if you look even closer you will see tiny biological revolts cracking the facade of the built world. This project, from which these photos were selected, is a collection of just a few of the ways we have left our mark on our world and the ways nature has responded. I leave these images to you for your consideration, amusement, and contemplation.