What should be classified as “wilderness” in a post-industrial world?
Meadownlands, an ecosystem of wetlands, a few miles to the west of New York City, used to be associated with vast and often unregulated landfills, polluting industries and other unbridled environmental abuses. The Meadowlands are located in New Jersey, the small but densely-populated state that counts the most Superfund sites in the US.
We Make Money Not Art writes about Artist Jon Cohrs, who first started canoeing through the area a few years ago as he was investigating the artificial flavouring industry in Northern New Jersey.
Cohrs asked a cook, a writer, a hunter, a lawyer, a sound engineer and a cameraman to accompany him on a canoe trip along the Hackensack river.
The film, however, is not about their adventures but about the strange hybridity of wilderness and industrialisation that never seems to welcome these seven human beings. Despite the ubiquitous signs of modern life, despite the power lines, the highways, the factories and all the garbage floating around, the group felt very isolated from the modern world. The only people they met along the journey were a series of overweight police officers and intimidating men asking them more or less politely to go away because they were too close to a gas pipeline, trespassing on “private” property or simply because a canoe trip in this almost post-apocalyptic nature looked rather odd and suspicious.
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