180° diptychs views at KXL road crossings.
In Crossings, the controversial delivery of tar sands oil to Port Arthur, Texas is examined at ground level through the dispassionate eye of Google Street View, the automated documentarian of our nation’s roadways. The 180° diptychs compiled here are composed of opposing camera views from each intersection between the Keystone pipeline corridor and the public roadway.
These are historical moments, captured incidentally by the passing Google camera. Without rhetoric or hyperbole, we witness the pipeline corridor from the roadside — largely the only public access to the 2,000-mile project. Undeveloped stretches are delineated by petroleum pipeline markers on fences bordering forest or agricultural lands. An existing easement, to be repurposed or expanded, may appear as a dirt track vanishing into the brush. Construction zones are seen crossing woodland, wetland, and farm alike, in all stages of development, from timber and brush clearing, to bulldozing, trenching, and pipe welding. According to the company building the project, the pipeline route data has been withheld for national security reasons, while here we find the Keystone revealed in a very public fashion – hundreds of feet in breadth, stretching from horizon to horizon.
What are we to make of this hidden landscape? Is it a terrorist target? A transportation corridor for extracted resources destined for world markets? A rural and largely agrarian community being bisected physically, economically, politically, ecologically, and administratively? An endangered native prairie, scrub, marsh, and forest being sacrificed to “progress?” A far-away abstraction divorced from our personal reality? Mile by mile we confront these questions as the corridor unfolds.
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