Exhibitions, Workshops, Installations Anthropocene River Journey

Mississippi Carp © Andrew Yang

Fri, 10/11/2019 -
Sun, 10/13/2019

Carbondale, IL

The Anthropocene: Field Station 4

As a central axis through both real and mythic America, the Mississippi designates a particularly heterogeneous space in which the natural, cultural, and historical intersect in a unique way. Located in “confluence territory” where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet (in Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky), Confluence Ecologies aims to bring a regionally focused lens to the globally entangled Anthropocene condition. The undertaking of this Field Station is one of intensive engagement with the juxtaposition of opioid addiction and our dependencies on coal and nuclear power, issues of native species loss and invasive replacements, animal labor, and ethical questions about future terraforming and historical geoengineering initiatives.

Within this framework, members of the collective Deep Time Chicago will create non-conventional maps, experimental videos, multimedia installations, and participatory, public events as a way to collaboratively understand the ecological-economic-technological infrastructures that connect our lives and livelihoods in this contested political (and geological) moment.

This interdisciplinary research carried out at this Field Station will provide it with a substantive trove of artifacts and experiences. These will serve as the foundation for an exhibition, the aim of which is to connect audiences who might find themselves distant—physically, politically, or otherwise. Activities during the Anthropocene River Journey will range from public walks with the paleogeologist Scott Elrick to the exploration and discussion of the life and ecology of the Asian Carp that populate the Mississippi River, and will further open up the work of the Field Station to the public.

Lounging Through the Flood LOUNGING THROUGH THE FLOOD is a floating sculptural work by Jenny Kendler & Jeremy Bolen which will be anchored in the Mississippi—and travel its length via augmented reality. Painted with the Behr Paint company's shade "Climate Change," LOUNGING asks us to consider the particularly American constellation of apathy and survival, ingenuity and denial that plays out throughout the Mississippi River system, and takes form in this piece. | © Jenny Kendler & Jeremy Bolen

Activities during the Anthropocene River Journey: October 11-13, 2019

Born Secret: two-channel video on river-basin planning, nuclear weapons production and geo-engineering

Hopium Economy: This project locates a larger context for the currently ongoing opioid crisis bearing down on the Midwestern US, drawing out how this cycle of dependency, depression, and despair arises from a nexus of factors playing out over public health systems, rural and urban divides, pharmaceutical industries, racial tensions, colonialized monopoly, and de-industrialization.

Timeslips: experimental film from the angle of speculative fiction that uses Southern Illinois and Donau River landscapes to play with themes of worlding, extraction, terraforming, memory and loss

Into the Breach: painting and multimedia installation about levees, wetlands and seasonal inundation along the New Madrid Floodway

From the Carboniferous to Carbondale: multimedia installation about the deep time(scapes) that coal miners encounter through the fossilized fragments of 300 million-year-old underground forests within the coal seams. Accompanied by a walk with paleogeologist Scott Elrick above the Southern Illinois coal basin

Panel presentations on local efforts for regional transitioning from an extraction economy, followed by public discussion

Reshaping the Shape: Embodiment, Ecology and Culture of a Postnatural Carp: installation of documentary and figurative artifacts of fish-human-river flows and confluences, accompanied by a discussion of invasive species and a convivial Asian Carp meal

Bus Tour to the Cache River Cypress swamp (Heron Pond Preserve), then on to Cairo and the confluence, with at least two further works/events:
- This is Not About Survival (It’s About Bringing Your Coracle): guided visit to the canebrake habitat of the Cache River
- Lounging through the Flood: launch of a floating artwork at Fort Defiance Park, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers

Jeremy Bolen, Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design, Georgia State University
Beate Geissler, Department of Art, University of Illinois, Chicago
Brian Holmes, Cartographer, cultural critic and autonomous researcher
Sarah Lewison, College of Mass Communication and Media, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Claire Pentecost, Department of Photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Oliver Sann, Department of Photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Andrew Yang, Liberal Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Kayla Anderson, Department of Art Theory and Practice, Northwestern University
Sara Black, Department of Sculpture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Amber Ginsburg, Department of Visual Arts, University of Chicago
Jenny Kendler, ACRE Board Co-chair
Brian Kirkbride, Founder, OtherPeoplesPixels
Marlena Novak, Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Michael Swierz, Participatory Ecologist
Jay Alan Yim, Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University