In “Immortals: On the Ancient Future Lives of Stone and Plastic,” Marianne Shaneen blends stories, histories, and ontologies of two substances: stone and plastic. As quasi-immortal materials, stone and plastic bear witness to the catastrophic effects of extractive linearity, while also drastically exceeding human lifespans. The essay entangles these forms that oscillate between geological and synthetic realms, and are deeply embedded in industrial-capitalist development.
writer and poet
Marianne Shaneen writes fiction, essays, and poetry, who also works in documentary video. She has been awarded fellowships at Yaddo, MacDowell, Djerassi, and Tusen Takk Foundation, and is the recipient of a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist Grant. She received her MFA in writing from the Bard Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, New York. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review; Bomb; The Brooklyn Rail; Vanitas; and in the anthology Monstrous Adaptations (2016). She has also published a chapbook titled Lucent Amnesis (2005). Recently, Shaneen wrote text and narration for the essay film Kansas Atlas (2019) by filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh, which screened at the 2020 New York Film Festival and in numerous galleries. Shaneen is currently finishing her first novel, Homing—a wildly ranging speculative fiction of animal-human-geological entanglement, where personal trauma becomes entwined with ecological trauma, grounded in an intimate portrait of a woman’s unmoored relationship to her family history. Shaneen lives in Brooklyn and upstate New York.