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Meghan Kirkwood

Friday, October 13 - 1:30PM to 2:20PM
Embassy Suites, River G-H

The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) garnered national and international attention and consternation as a result of protests from members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and numerous Native and Non-Native supporters. Protesters argued that the pipeline's crossing over the Missouri River would jeopardize the reservation's water supply and invoke further damage to sacred sites already wrought by contractors. In spite of ongoing legal challenges, on March 27th, 2017, Energy Transfer Partners completed construction on the four-state, 1,172 mile pipeline and now carries Bakken oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

For individuals such as myself who grew up in a suburban environment, massive infrastructure projects such as the DAPL are abstract ideas. I benefit from the resources they transport and the costs of such delivery systems are born by others in far away places. Beginning in Fall 2016 I drove along the pipeline route in North Dakota and photographed the landscapes it traversed. I wanted to see what construction looked like at the landscape-level and view the range and agricultural landscapes damaged by its insertion.

This Image-Maker presentation shares work that profiles the path of the pipeline in one of the four states it crosses. The images highlight the physical disruption of the landscape it traverses as well as surrounding environments. Further, this presentation examines the ways in which landscape photography can provide context to current debates related to land-use and natural resource extraction.


Meghan Kirkwood
Meghan Kirkwood

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