THE ANTHROPOCENE SLAM: A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES NOVEMBER 8-10

WISCONSIN INSTITUTES FOR DISCOVERY DELUCA FORUM MADISON

TOPOGRAPHIC MAP

photo of a topographical map

At the turn of the 19th Century, three lakes in Northwest Iowa were drained to create more arable land in the region. These Lost Lakes of Iowa are located a few miles West of the Okoboji Lakes, a popular summer boating destination, and the site of the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre. This work, still in progress, is an attempt to map various narrative trajectories through time and space - a thinking through the past in a particular place (land use, property rights, species diversity) toward a future that is unknowable because of global climate change. Of chief interest are the latent potentialities of restorations, yet to take place, in a radically altered climate: What role does restoration and reclamation have in continued conversations around adaptability and resiliency? In what ways can an artwork that blends geological, historical, cultural and visual aspects together help us to conceptualize the role of conservation and restoration for both ourselves, and the nonhuman species, who call this region home? For The Anthropocene, Cabinet of Curiosities Slam I propose the unique topographic map be part of the cabinet collection. The piece, composed of wood blocks with the elevation and topography of the region on the surface recall Platt maps, a children’s wood block, a puzzle, and a catalog of species. The work invites the viewer to pick up the blocks, to assemble them in a different way, to toy with the idea of having some agency in the way that things will unfold.

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