Dirt is both a cultural construct and a physical medium; it is that by which we are repulsed and yet also that which is endlessly giving and fertile. Dirt is a site, a position and an art. Dirt is process, error, ornament and excess, fertile ground, rumor, program... Dirt is the stuff that makes a system jump, forcing a new kind of internal logic to emerge or the logic of the system to be challenged. Dirt is a catalyst, an impulse, an agitator. Dirt is unexpected, undesirable, and yet unavoidable. Organisms grow, thrive and evolve amidst dirt. Dirt is a physical, material and fertile substrate. Dirt is heterogeneous and flexible, shifting yet stable. Dirt is a medium for living, developing and communicating; it accumulates unseen and becomes perceptible over time.
The topic is much indebted to a method of thinking, designing and view of the world gleaned from occupying the space between the discourses of Landscape Architecture and Architecture. Seeing dirt as a fertile medium as well as an illogical (but also productive) component within a system aptly describes the two routes of discourse and thinking which run (and collide at times) in the mind of the landscape and building architect. Dirt is not one of these things and then the other, rather it is both simultaneously. We think of dirt in two ways, as metaphor and material. These parallel definitions are essential to our critical methodology. Material depends on metaphor and vice versa; one cannot exist without the other, yet they are entirely different.