Putting the Hustle and Flow in Check

Cars have turned our zen garden sandbox of a landscape into a systematically ravaged ant farm. The impetus to transport goods cheaply and "effectively" has brought roads and motorized vehicles that have wiped out communities, histories, and wide swathes of flora, fauna, and the atmosphere. Artists Ryan Griffis and Claude Willey have both concerned themselves with such disappearances, whether it is public space or atmospheric moisture that is evaporating in response to the encroachment of new technologies and the environmentally-corrupt corporations that wield them. This week they collaborated to open an exhibition of "cultural projects focusing on the problems of mobility and energy." Presented by Green Museum, an online environmental museum, "Conducting Mobility" includes internet-based works by Brian Collier, Free Soil, Amy Balkin/Kim Stringfellow/Tim Halbur/Greenaction/Pond, kanarinka, Michael Mandiberg, Laurie Palmer, Platform, Josephine Starrs/Leon Cmielewski. The show uses the United States' problems as a tip-off point, while also commenting on the extent to which we've exported our fuel-consumption patterns and other transportation-related disasters to other countries, citing India and China as key examples of foreign "ecosystems plundered by our unquenchable energy needs." The organizers point out an ironic, if very sad pattern in this model, which is that it's not only tourism, migration, and military conflict that keeps people "on the move," but environmental disasters themselves. Westerners have a way of simply moving campgrounds and keeping the eco-hating party rolling when things turn ugly in our own backyard. At this point, things are already so bad, that it can be easy to feel pessimistic about the future of our planet or what one might do to help. Griffis and Willey offer this show as a call to action, stating, "It falls to all of us as global citizens to redirect our governing institutions and cultural perceptions--or we may find ourselves facing the end of the road." - Marisa Olson

Image credit: Brian Collier, Highway Expedition, 2007

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