Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Unearthing Project

I was driving back to my house a few weekends ago, and, after passing over the train tracks in Charlottesville, I saw a set of large black and white photographs mounted on the panels enclosing the failed Landmark Hotel Project. I parked and took a few pictures of the pictures. These are all people that are active in the movement against mountaintop mining. The photographs were taken by Charlottesville based photographer Will Kerner.
Will's photographs are on alternating panels of a construction barrier at the Hotel. I was very impressed with the presentation of the portraits. These are large black and white prints, and the sense of eye contact with the subject is very strong. The consistency of mood in all these portraits really gives a feeling of the intensity of the situation. Many of the faces look like they've been through a tough and tiresome ordeal. Other than Will's panel describing the outline of the project, the message can be found in the faces themselves.
What I hadn’t known before: the majority of the local electric power is taken from mountain mining.
As for information on the effects of mining at higher elevations: here’s one research study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: http://www.pnas.org/content/108/52/20929.abstract A link from the Virginia Conservation Network. http://www.vcnva.org/anx/index.cfm/1,358,0,0,html/Mountain-Top-Removal Southern Environmental Law Center http://www.southernenvironment.org/cases/mountaintop_removal_coal_mining . The UNEARTHING Project ( http://theunearthing.com/ ) is a wide variety of projects involving dance and theater. Some of these have already occurred but the dates on the upper right of the site go through April. Don’t miss the about page of the site: http://theunearthing.com/about/

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