Put Art in Your Arsenal
How to make Land-based Art to Oppose Fracked-gas Pipelines
Do it Yourself
1) Location. Scout one or more locations on your property. These could be right in the proposed path of the pipeline, or places with special resonance for you, or both. If you create a "web" of works, then the pipeline can't cross your land without plowing through one or more of your pieces. Making a single piece is a good way to start - add more if you have the time and energy.
2) Bold or Nuanced? Decide whether you are going to make something big and highly-visible or something smaller or more camouflaged.
3) Choose your materials. If you want the piece to last forever, choose materials that are impervious to weather such as metal or glass. If you are fine with it eventually falling back into the landscape, use biodegradable but weather-resistant materials.
4) Choose your medium: Are you going to make 3-D collages, called assemblages? One kind of assemblage is a container of some sort - a box, basket - that is decorated or holds special objects or writing. But you can get creative - use a boot, a baby carriage, an abandoned bird's nest or a Sunday hat. Or you can go sculptural: tie or fuse found objects together - old plows, sewing machines, pitch-forks; use fiber, make a banner, knit a protective coat for your tree.
5) Just Do It. Make your art. Install it. Photograph it. Film it.
6) Copyright Registration. Now register your copyright (see the section on this below).
Rooted in the Land
This is the critical part: whatever you make, no matter how simple or elaborate, has to derive its meaning from its location and it must be dug in, tied to, hung from, wrapped around, nestled in...the landscape. If you could just put it in your house and it would be just as meaningful and just as lovely, then the pipeline company would just say "well move it then." This work has to be as much a part of the landscape as a family graveyard or a piece of historic architecture.
Get in touch with local artists who are eager to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and are willing to collaborate with you to develop a project on your land. I, for one, am interested in creating more works for more landowners all up and down the proposed path. I do this for a "labor of love" rate.
Artists, if you are interested in helping out in this way, please contact me so I can connect you with interested landowners.
If you like the assemblage + poetry concept, I can work with you to make something on your land, or collaborate with you, developing a concept based on the site, and its human and natural history.
The tactic of using art and poetry to resist environmental destruction and degradation is not new. Here are some examples of how other individuals and communities have used art to save the places they love:
Landowners Put Hope in Art Project to Combat Pipeline A radio interview with artist Aviva Rahmani about a visual art and music project against the Mountain Valley Pipeline. And an online article about the project.
Oregon: Han Shan Poetry Project
Two other articles about the Han Shan project:
McLellan Park Blog
Globe & Mail article
Alberta – Peter von Tiesenhausen
This Canadian example demonstrates the point that the physical location and surrounding landscape of these works of land art is integral to their meaning, and these would have be be mitigated by any eminent domain taking. As an article by attorney Monica Goyal notes, registering the copyright is just a step you take to demonstrate willingness to go to court.
Stanza Stones is a project in the UK by poet Simon Armitage. Seven stones are inscribed with a one stanza excerpt from Armitage's poems; the sites are in the Pennine landscape that inspired the poetry.