Category Archives: Southern Illinois Drift

Region from Below: Southern Illinois Drift

strip mine entrance

Eagle River Coal LLC. Harrisburg IL

The Region from below is a concept we used earlier to expose and map a concealed landscape of energy extraction. Last March we explored this idea materially with a drift to Southern Illinois. The metaphor of a territory buried underneath, with perhaps insurgent potential, is fitting for how Southern Illinois is like Chicago’s back 40, not only at the ‘bottom’ of the state, but also layered in time, for much of the physical power and materials, particularly coal, that helped build Chicago into an economic powerhouse were pulled out of this ground. Southern Illinois has been serially plundered since the early 1800s, starting with salt, then oil, coal, oil and more oil and now gas through high pressure deep well hydrofracking.
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Decolonizing So ILL


Stripmine entrance. Karber’s Ridge; Saline border with Pope County. North of the Shawnee forest

Eagle River Coal LLC. Early on Sunday, to the not unreasonable consternation of the student hired to drive our van, we pull into the parking lot of the Eagle River surface coal mine & sneak around the locked gates, past the empty guard shack, our rag-tag team following the road up to the muddy edge of the mine. An enormous alley dug into the earth, with 50-foot mountains of mud heaped up in piles here and there. A quarter mile away there are a few trucks parked next to an office, but no one seems to notice us as we wade about, up to our ankles in red clay on this cold, gray early spring morning. Continue reading

A rural industrial drift

The reporters are Matthias (nomad)  and Sarah (resident (in dark blue)

At the farmer’s market.  A three-piece band in the basketball gym of a school, Saturday morning. Booths suggesting the cheerful side of barely getting by. This is what neoliberalism looks like on a cold, sunny spring morning. People producing marginal objects – coffee, jam, knitted hats & shawls. The atmosphere is almost downright exuberant. Organizer of market describes how easy it was to get the space ‘donated’ by the school. Principal was into it. farmersmkt1sm Continue reading

Mapping from below workshop

"Where you at?" workshop

“Where you at?” workshop

Where you at? was a workshop on making and thinking with maps that was held on Friday March 22, 2014 in the Morris library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The walls were covered with a collection of maps resourced from the library GIS area and a text written by Nick Smaligo and I that offered observations on the instrumental power of cartography.
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