The Anthropocene Drift Field Station will focus on a juxtaposition of two landscapes, differently shaped by climate, geology, and culture. One landscape, located in the Kickapoo River Valley in southwestern Wisconsin, is part of a larger region commonly known as the Driftless Area. Defined by scenic hills and bluffs spared the effects of the Wisconsinan Glaciation, it is also known as a celebrated home to sustainable agriculture practices. Just South of the Driftless, on both sides of the Mississippi River, one finds a very different cultural and topographical landscape defined by endless expanses of predominantly flat and rectilinear fields of monocrops, an area known to many as the Corn Belt. Just over one hundred years ago, this landscape was dominated by a vast grassland composed of a complex of tallgrass and oak savannah known as the Grand Prairie. Despite the near-total elimination of this grassland biome, Illinois is still known as “the prairie state.”
Published by Sam Gould’s art-activist publication imprint Tools in Common, the ﬁeld guides assemble images, texts, maps and other materials around key themes and locations within the geographical and conceptual region. The series aims to provide readers with the contextual information necessary to become responsible uninvited guests in the Anthropocene Drift, while being non-prescriptive about the nature of that response.
The Kickapoo Waystation is a multi-purpose library assembling books and other print literature, maps, images, seeds, and other materials reﬂecting and contextualizing the region, its themes, and continuing social histories. Taking as a conceptual starting point the meandering nature of the Kickapoo River, as well as the cyclical history of forced migration and return of the Kickapoo people, the Kickapoo Waystation is not a site inasmuch as it is a framing tool for a transforming social ecosystem. A non-site deﬁned more by the people and ideas which pass through it than the object it seems to be at ﬁrst encounter. In addition to a mobile screenprinting studio, the waystation is outﬁtted with a recording and broadcasting unit via a low-power FM radio transmitter to collect, archive, and transmit Anthropocene social histories from the region.
Constructed in a modular fashion as an “exercise in decolonized architecture,” the Waystation can be packed and unpacked, easily transported around the region. During the Anthropocene River Journey public program and other scheduled gatherings, it can function as a framing device, linking the far-ﬂung gathering sites, presenting print and other materials relevant to the discussion topics, able to act as a tool to collect and disperse the views and reﬂections of those who pass through it.
At this point what do you think your space conveys about “quotidian anthropocenics” -- the way “the Anthropocene” plays out in very particular ways in different spaces?
Thus far, what tactics for engaging your local, quotidian “Anthropocene” have you found to be particularly generative -- and possibly relevant to re-play at other sites?