Anthropocene Drift: Moraine/Terminal
Moraine/Terminal is a temporary shelter that served as a meeting place during “Anthropocene Drift,” a five-day mobile program that asked participants to consider the agro-engineering of rural America within the broader framework of settler colonialism in order to attend to the historical, political and epistemic roots of the agricultural and environmental crisis. As a mobile structure, it served as a consistent beacon and entry-point as the program moved across the upper US Midwest. It sheltered group discussions from the Fall sun as well as artifacts and books. Banners from Métis artist Dylan Miner’s “This Land Is Always” project greeted participants with images of regional medicinal plants and fragments of Ogama Mdewé’s arguments against the Potawatomi approval of 1821 Treaty of Chicago. “Moraine/Terminal” also hosts a series of “field guides” for being responsible uninvited guests in the region, a seed library, and a collection of waters from the five rivers that constitute the so-called Illinois Headwaters. These materials are transported in a set of crates crafted from salvaged, climate-killed ash by Wisconsin-based master woodworker Jon Lund. Once emptied, the crates are assembled into a display table.
See below for more detailed descriptions.
Dylan AT Miner / This Land is Always
An excerpt of the artist’s 2018 installation, This Land is Always, created for the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College.
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, 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.
Dylan AT Miner (b. 1976) is an artist, activist, and scholar. He is Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies, as well as Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. Miner sits on the board of the Michigan Indian Education Council and is a founding member of the Justseeds artist collective. He holds a PhD in Arts of the Américas from The University of New Mexico and has published extensively. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. Miner has been featured in more than two dozen solo exhibitions. He has been artist-in-residence or visiting artist at institutions such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Rabbit Island, Santa Fe Art Institute, and numerous universities, art schools, and low-residency MFA programs. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island was published in 2014 by the University of Arizona Press. In the past two years, he has published four risograph books: an artist’s book titled Aanikoobijigan // Waawaashkeshi, a booklet on Métis and Anishinaabe beadwork, a chapbook on quillwork, and another titled Bakobiigwaashkwani // She Jumps into the Water. In 2017, he commenced the Bootaagaani-minis ∞ Drummond Island Land Reclamation Project and in 2018 began collaborating to print little-known graphics from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He is committed to supporting Indigenous sovereignty, migrant and immigrant rights, labor rights, and ecological justice. Miner is of Métis and settler descent.
Field Guides to the Anthropocene Drift
This series aims to provide readers with the contextual information necessary to become responsible uninvited guests in the Anthropocene Drift, while being nonprescriptive about the nature of that response. The ﬁeld guides assemble images, texts, maps, and other materials around key themes and locations within our geographical and conceptual region, resonating with the content of the Anthropocene River Journey mobile seminar.
More information and download PDFs of the series
Beyond Extraction: A Fluid Story
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.
A collection of seeds representing plants that have long inhabited the territory of the Anthropocene Drift — co-existing with their human and other-than-human co-habitants for thousands of years — only to be extremely marginalized by processes of colonialism and capitalist extraction.
An audio playlist that will be broadcast by radio as Moraine/Terminal moves through the Anthropocene Drift.