The Roar on the Other Side of Silence (Along Line 5)
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.” -George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1871-72
Roar on the Other Side of Silence was commissioned by the University of Michigan Museum of Art for the Fall 2022 exhibition, “Watershed.” It brings together years of place-based research on the subject of Enbridge’s aging Line 5, a segment of the energy company’s vast network of underground pipelines that transports millions of gallons of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, through Wisconsin and the Straits of Mackinac (which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron) to Ontario, Canada.
The installation features two parallel timelines, separated by red tape. The top segment documents elements of life above ground. It includes a stream of photographs made during drives along the pipeline’s route—unplanned and intuition-driven journeys through capitalist landscapes. The bottom segment uses ephemera, sculpture tintypes and audio to explore the political history of the pipeline, including the stories of decision making processes often inaccessible to the broader public, and seminal events that passed largely unnoticed. Together they illustrate the power dynamics between extractive industries and local communities, and the relationship between everyday life and impending catastrophe.
Printed timeline gives context to works in installation.
Silence; moving image landscapes along Line 5, 2022