Artist Statement

Mapping sites of disposal and consumption illustrates our formulation of nature as a place detached from our lived experiences. This attitude is exemplified in the belief that we can dispose of uranium near drinking water sources without risking public health. When cancer and infant mortality rates skyrocket in these areas, after much public ado, the EPA steps in to “clean up” these superfund sites. After the transformative process of mound-building, we are presented with nature, once again packaged as “a place apart,” in the form of recreational sites deemed safe to visit, but not safe for habitation. The absence of human residences surrounding areas of contamination encourages the flourishing of “wildlife”—in reality, these areas are intensively managed—further reinforcing our prior beliefs. By inviting the audience to consider the history of these sites in a safe space far removed from their threats—to peruse a brochure, to grab a postcard, to plan a visit—I am asking them to reconsider their consumption of nature. I am questioning our relationship to nature itself—the culture of nature that we teach to each other through museum dioramas, through titillating landscape calendars and all-expenses-paid eco-adventures. A public tour of the mounds is a method of activating the viewer outside of the gallery setting as a participant in the re-invention of the culture of nature. The gallery/museum setting is in fact a problematic one as the locus of instrumentalist art. Gallery attendees are not the only audience I wish to engage. Because I am trying to catalyze radical adaptation in the anthropocene, education in a museum setting is a very useful place to begin but the ultimate goal lies in establishing interconnections between people, communities, and the physical environment.