Between 2010 and 2015, Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton produced a series of collaborative artworks, publications and editions about the upland landscapes of south-western Cumbria in northern England. Key to their work has been the development of the list-poem, which, at its most fundamental, magnifies the act of attention and the facility of language – through naming – to refer to things, places, to life itself. The texts they assemble frequently contain material drawn from a variety of sources: pollen diagrams, dialect glossaries, cartographic records, archaeological tracts – but their repurposing of this material as art is deeply humane, aimed at drawing the attention towards the lost, forgotten or overlooked.
‘Place names and plant names assume the status of chants or litanies: spectral taxa incanted as elegy, or as a means to conjure back.’ (Robert Macfarlane)
Memorious Earth collects the artists’ Cumbrian work between 2010 and 2015, incorporating all their previously published (and now out-of-print) text works with an introductory overview written by the artists themselves. First published by their own Corbel Stone Press in 2015, this new Xylem Books edition includes two subsequently commissioned pieces, ‘Thwaite’ and ‘Furness Fells’, as well as a gazetteer of place-names from the south-western uplands. Memorious Earth is a vital document of what must surely constitute one of the most significant small-press collaborations of recent years.