7000 Marks  ·  Barn Razing  ·  Betty Rymer  ·  Break  ·  Caledonia (Carbon Pine)  ·  Connect The Lots  ·  Converse  ·  Cure  ·  Drift  ·   Flo[we/u]r  ·  The Forest University  ·  Forever  ·  Happening at Site A  ·  How to House a Kiln  ·  How to Unmake an American Quilt  ·  Inheritance  ·  Johnny Appleseed  ·  K[ne(e){a}d]  ·  Knob  ·  Laboratory for Material Thinking  ·  Le Musee du Grand Dehors  ·  Long Chain Polymer  ·  New Homestead Act  ·  Paleo.pdf  ·  Past Present Perfect  ·  Past Times  ·  Pleasant Home  ·  Polyculture   ·  Preamble  ·  Project Fielding | Tooling Camp  ·  Project Fielding | Resistance Architecture  ·  Pulling Through  ·  Re.Pur.Pose  ·  Redress  ·  Rutherford Hall  ·  Shock and Awe + New Venus  ·  Siteware  ·  Souvenir  ·  Tapping the Audience  ·  Tea Project  ·  Treacle  ·  Tree Less  ·  Verge  ·  Watershed  ·  Weapons Project  ·  Where There Were Many  ·  With/Draw  ·  Witness Tree ·  Work In Progress  ·  YoYo Magazine


Beneath the rolling hills of Southern Illinois lies the fossilized section of a forest that once covered this continent. Stretched for 100 miles along both sides of an ancient river as wide as the Mississippi, this fossil forest cuts across the heart of the Illinois Basin coal seam, forged from peat soils where ferns and giant trees (Arborescent Lycopods) once anchored their roots.

It took over 300 million years to sequester the carbon that lies under Southern Illinois in the form of coal. It has taken a mere 200 years and the labor of thousands of coal miners to extract that carbon destined to fuel the lifestyle that defines our inheritance. Miners are on the front lines. Many of them have seen the remnants of the fossil forest that remains hidden to those above ground. Coal miners are also the first to personally experience the costs of the industry.

For the exhibition Confluences Ecologies, held at the Southern Illinois University Museum, Inheritance was installed in two adjoining rooms to create a narrative passage. Stepping through a curtain, viewers entered complete darkness to hear the voices of miners and paleogeologists describing their encounters with the fossilized forest while laboring in the mines (a 24 minute sound loop). After traversing this dark space, viewers emerge into a lit room to find a floating white tablecloth laid with ornate silver platters bearing fossils found in the mines. On the far wall hung a last will and testament written from the perspective of the ancient forest.

This exhibition was accompanied by a guided walk with geologists Scott Elrick and Jeremy Breeden.