Extracted Landscape

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This project focuses on the systemic extraction of resources from the land that has taken place in Pennsylvania for the last two hundred years, specifically anthracite coal and slate, and the landscapes that emerge as a result.  They are an exploration of the current state of the landscape and its relationship to its own past and to our future.  Much of the land in Schuylkill and Northumberland Counties was at one time heavily used for anthracite coal mining but has been largely out of use since the 1960s.  The years of mining have left the landscape in a state of upheaval with its surface torn, scarred, and redistributed into rock piles, barren boulder fields, and massive craters.  The remnants of the industry, however, remain and new marks are made upon the land as it is repurposed for recreational use.  Overlaying the tracks of massive dump trucks and bulldozers are the smaller, delicate tracks of dirt bikes and four wheelers taking advantage of the seemingly abandoned nature of the land. 

 

Another facet of the project is focused on Northeastern Pennsylvania, home to the once thriving Slate Belt, 24 square miles of quarries that at one time, produced half of all the slate used in the United States.  After asphalt roofing shingles replaced slate ones in the 1920’s, demand dropped and many mines closed leaving behind massive rain-filled open quarries and slag piles of waste slate.  Much of the quarry pits and machinery have been left as if waiting for miners to return back to work.  This portion of the project explores both active and abandoned slate quarries and examines the contrasting blight and beauty of open pit mining.   We have drastically altered the land and given it a new topography that has little semblance to its former self and has remained frozen in this state long after industry left.