a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
To go down into them is to go down into sleep, away from the conscious electrified life of the houses. The ravines are darker, even in the day. —Margaret Atwood
Toronto’s ravines and the rivers that make them are sites of great instability and change. This is especially true in this age of extreme weather and economic disparity. At their edges, the city’s pavement cracks and foundations falter. Slopes sink and slump. Water jumps its banks. Half-forgotten and often buried, the city’s creeks branch and wind their way through the urban landscape, frustrating our attempts to build straight lines.
This image is part of a larger project that explores the tension between the rational, built world of the conscious city and the unbuilt, unconscious world that undergirds and erodes it. Lines point this way and that, giving the viewer a sense of push and pull, of instability and change.
Ravines are the city unmade and unreal.
Sasha Chapman is a writer, editor and photographer who has lived most of her life in the watershed of Woscotonach or the Don River Valley on the east side of Toronto. Her work explores the way human beings shape the land around them and the way the land also shapes them. Her magazine writing has won numerous awards; her fiction has been published in The New Quarterly. An alumna of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship, she has participated in two student photography shows at Harvard and MIT. She is also a member of the Toronto-based artist collective The Persephone Project, which investigates the devastating impact of human-centric narratives on the Earth’s ecosystems and explores strategies for healing the damage. She has been writing about and photographing Toronto’s creeks and ravines for as long as she can remember.