October 4th, 2019

Moraine/Terminal is a portable gathering, exhibition, and conversational space traveling alongside the mobile seminar Over the Levee, Under the Plow.

Moraine/Terminal is a portable gathering, exhibition, and conversational space traveling alongside the mobile seminar Over the Levee, Under the Plow. Beneath and beside a freestanding, open-sided tent, a number of elements reinforce Anthropocene Drift themes and concerns. A live-edge tabletop crafted from salvaged, climate-killed ash by master woodworker Jon Lund is a focal point for conversations for Temporary continent., distribution of Field Guides to the Anthropocene Drift and other literature related to the project, as well as youth-planned activities such as seed ball making. The terminal also exhibits portions of larger projects by Ryan Griffis (Beyond Extraction: A Fluid Story) and Dylan AT Miner (This Land is Always).

In its entirety, This Land is Always includes 18 felt-applique banners installed on copper pipes. Thirteen tan-and-green banners integrate medicinal and edible plants juxtaposed with fragmented text taken from a speech by Ogama Mdewé (Chief Metea, Potawatomi) against signing the Treaty of Chicago. This particular treaty was signed in Chicago (1821) and ceded nearly all remaining land south of the Chi-ziibing/Grand River, including the Land on which Kalamazoo College resides. Ogama Mdewé’s recorded oratory, which would have been given in Neshnabémwen, the Potawatomi language, demonstrates a fervent disagreement with ceding additional Land, as the Anishinaabe (Potawatomi, Odawa, and Ojibwe) had signed three previous treaties in 1807, 1817, and 1819.

In addition, Dylan AT Miner includes five horizontal text-based banners, which direct us to think about ongoing Indigenous presence and sovereignty, as well as gesture towards decolonized relationships with the Land. As we approach the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Treaty of Chicago, Miner’s artwork reminds us to critically reflect and act in ways that recognize how treaties and Indigenous sovereignties are both seen and not seen as living and ongoing relationships between Indigenous peoples, settlers, and arrivants. This Land is Always asks that we critically reflect upon Land use and historic, contemporary, and future relationships with the Land and with settler-colonial institutions.

Ryan Griffis’s Beyond Extraction: A Fluid Story complements his Anthropocene Drift field guide.  A selection of water samples from the territory known in settler terminology as the Illinois Headwaters. The Illinois Headwaters is a region where rivers, streams, and agricultural ditches cut through commodity cropland before delivering waters laced with nitrates, atrazine, and glyphosate to the Mississippi River system. These waters have passed through the horrors of extraction while carrying the stories of human and other-than-human resistance to the logics of settler-capitalist extraction. These water samples are a small material artifact of the narrative project represented in Ryan Griffis’ booklet Beyond Extraction: A Partial Political Ecology of Central Illinois.