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FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill

December 7, 2010

Jesse Goldstein, Laura Scheinkopf, and I are part of a group show called FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill.
Exit Art
475 Tenth Ave, New York, NY
December 7, 2010 – February 5, 2011
Opening Tuesday, December 7, 7-9pm
Our installation called “We Share the Well”, was initially developed this summer in response to new techniques of drilling for ‘natural’ gas, called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. The Marcellus shale is a large rock deposit stretched across Pennsylvania and New York, miles below ground. Drilling companies use a toxic process called hydrofracking to extract natural gas from the shale, by injecting it with millions of gallons of highly pressurized toxic fluid. This fractures the shale in a way that releases natural gas. Most of the fluid that they inject returns to the surface and must be processed as toxic wastewater (often illegally dumped), the remainder stays underground. The local wildlife is being killed off, and drinking water contamination are on the rise, though the industry denies responsibility.

Drilling companies have leased extraction rights from landowners for years, many of whom are not fully aware of the implications of hydrofracking, and many of whom cannot afford to pass on the infusion of cash they will get from lease agreements. In New York, the land leased by drilling companies is in our watershed. However, opposition is mounting, as people learn of the true costs of this incredibly destructive process.
Our installation includes a photos, and a short video of a conversation with one couple from Dimock, PA following the history of their relationship with the land and water, and how their lives have changed since the company Cabot started drilling on and around their property, and contaminating their well. Jesse Goldstein’s poster from the RESOURCED portfolio project explores many of the issues at hand, the effects on the environment, and the economic stakes. Also displayed are jars of water samples: pure water from a popular (and so-far reliably clean, delicious) local artesian well; bottled water from a nearby town (as of yet uncontaminated by drilling); the tap water supplied to people’s households by the fracking company (it comes from a nearby lake, is treated with chemicals, and goes through the house plumbing system from an outdoor storage tank called a water buffalo); and the contaminated groundwater (‘Dimock Lemonade’ named by a local family for its yellow color). We created labels for the ‘Dimock Lemonade,’ which are intended to lend justice to the gravity of the situation, while poking at how absurd the situation is. By sharing the stories of those negatively affected by gas drilling in Dimock, PA, we counter the tide of corporate propaganda that is trying to convince the public that drilling is safe and clean.


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One comment on “FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill”

Hi, this is Daniel Morrissey from Capital District Against Fracking. I am from Albany County, NY and wish to extend a cordial invitation to you and your community for the May 2nd rally at the Capital. Yesterday we had about seven hundred people show up for a rally and day of action (including 400 people lobbying). And we’re planning to amp it up next month to keep pounding the message home: we need to move beyond fossil fuel! Stay in touch!

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