Grasping a Drop of Dew: The Boundless Nature of the Post-Industrial Calumet Region

“It’s hard to say which is more remarkable about the Calumet region: environmental degradation on a scale unheard of even in other parts of our metropolis, or the underlying resilience of an ecosystem so rich that some small protected areas have more biodiversity than entire national parks.

The numbers are awe-inspiring on both sides of the ledger.

  • 24 species of orchids in the dunelands of northwest Indiana (the state of Hawaii has only 4)
  • 28 toxic metals and chemicals above the “probable effect threshold” in Indiana Harbor, on the Calumet River
  • 2,259 species found during the Calumet BioBlitz, a 24-hour intensive search by scientific specialists and volunteers, at Eggers Woods, Powderhorn Lake, and Wolf Lake
  • 60 square miles of the region covered by slag, a sometimes toxic byproduct of steelmaking, and other waste”

                            – Ryan Chew, from Discovering the Calumet in the 2009 Spring edition of Chicago Wilderness Magazine

Each photograph is an archival inkjet print from high-quality  120mm film drum scans ranging in size from 30”x30”. The installation also includes loops of multiple stereo field recordings amplified on small speakers placed throughout the gallery space.
(click on thumbnail to begin slideshow)