The Region From Below: Corn and Coal Shed

The Region From Below Map and Quiz maps the coal and corn carbon economy in the Midwest region. It features four pop-out stories detailing alternatives to the corn and coal-shed and spotlighting some interesting locations where coal and corn come together. The project was included in the Heartland exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago and simultaneously published in AREA, vol. 9, Peripheral Visions.

To download your own copy of the map, please click here.

A Call to Farms

Book CoverA Call to Farms: Continental Drift through the Radical Midwest Culture Corridor is finished. The book collects writings and images from participants and presenters in the June 2008 Drift. The book is designed by Mike Koppa, of The Heavy Duty Press. A print copy of the book can be purchased from Heavy Duty Press, Journal Press, and Half Letter Press. You can also download the book from the Heavy Duty Press website here.

Continental Drift Through the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor

From June 4 to 14, 2008, a group of people traveled through Illinois and Wisconsin in search of a Radical Midwest. Starting in Urbana, Illinois and winding our way through Chicago, Milwaukee, rural Wisconsin, and Madison, we visited places where alternate pasts and futures sprout up and grow roots in the stress-fractures of a society built on violence, exploitation, and environmental destruction. We visited community groups fighting power companies for decades of environmental racism; learned about preserving Underground Railroad sites in Chicago; watched a 35-year old film about revolutionary black    street gangs with the man who wrote it; cleaned a flood-damaged bookstore; and passed the time on many, many farms.

The trip was called Continental Drift and extended the seminars of that name organized by Brian Holmes, Claire Pentecost, and the people at 16 Beaver Group. The name proposes a radical geography that thinks place, culture, and economics simultaneously and contends that neoliberal capitalism and American militarism—as well as the interna- tional social movements that counter them — are radically reshaping the world on scales from the interpersonal to the geopolitical. The Midwest gathering doubled this sense of the word “drift.” Through the mobile exploration of the geographies of capital and resistance in a particular place, the seminar also became a derive, favored as an affective, embodied research tool by the Situationists of fifty years ago. In contrast to earlier seminars, this Drift unfolded over ten days, 725 miles, and several rainy nights spent in tents, fostering a level of familiarity, even intimacy among the travelers and those we visited.

(excerpted from the introduction to A Call to Farms)