Imani Jacqueline Brown
Imani Jacqueline Brown lives and works in London, UK, and New Orleans, US
In the coastal wetlands of the US state of Louisiana, the fossil fuel industry reigns as heir to the extractive logics and landscapes of settler colonialism and slavery. Oil and gas corporations have dredged 10,000 miles of canals to drill and access 90,000 wells, which connect through 50,000 miles of pipeline to over 200 plants in the “Petrochemical Corridor.” This invasive infrastructure severs the integrity of Louisiana’s more-than-human ecologies. Canals kill the vegetation that holds sediment together as land; since the 1930s, 2,000 square miles of wetlands have disintegrated into the sea.
This place is known by many names. Named for the German (in addition to French and Spanish) settler colonists who conquered the land, it is referred to as “the German Coast”. Named for the corset of plantations that constrain the Mississippi River’s fertile flow, it is known as “Plantation Country”. Infamous for producing the most toxic air in the US, it is known as “Cancer Alley.” But once it was known to two dozen Indigenous nations as “Bulbancha”, meaning land of many languages. How much longer will this land be known?
And yet, while the land holds the accumulated strata of 300 years of extractive violence, it also supports resistance to it. Historically enslaved people planted magnolia and willow trees to mark the graves of their loved ones. Today, these carefully cultivated microecologies conspire with Black activists to resist extractivism, even to the ends of the earth.
Imani Jacqueline Brown
In this video animation, videography, photography, and sound were captured by the Imani Jaqueline Brown via canoe, foot, car, and three-passenger plane in Louisiana’s heavily industrialized coastal wetlands in 2022. GIS lines and points representing pipelines, canals, and wells were sourced from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (2021) and animated by the artist. Satellite images were sourced from Google Earth (2022). Maps were sourced from the US Public Land Survey System (PLSS) (1830–1860); the PLSS was the first US system to plat (or divide) Indigenous territory into private property, drawing the blueprints for the continuum of extractivism.
The Whole Life Academy Berlin, 2021, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (DE)
CC: World, 2020, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (DE)
Film the Police! Countersurveillance and Community Activism, 2020, New York University, New York City (US)
Imagining De-Gentrified Futures, 2020, Apexart, New York City (US)
Gotong Royong. Things we do together, 2017, Ujazdowski Castle – Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (PL)