Landscapes of Extraction: The Collateral Damage of the Fossil Fuels Industries

Thu, Jan 20, 2011 12am - Tue, Mar 1, 2011 12am

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The debate over our dependence on fossil fuels to provide energy and the subsequent gas emissions and planetary warming they create has largely focused on the invisible. Landscapes of Extraction, an exhibition at The Cooper Union featuring the impressive photographic works of J Henry Fair, provides an eye-opening look at the increasingly extreme industrial processes used to extract fossil fuels including mountain top removal, deep sea drilling and hydro-fracking. Known for taking great risks—such as daunting flyovers by plane to gain unique vantage points, Fair's work depicts the impact of the massive industrial energy sites of the world and the shockingly altered and polluted landscapes and fresh water supplies they manifest.

Researched, developed and built by a group of recent graduates working at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, the Architecture Archive staff, and J Henry Fair, the exhibition features analytic graphics and interactive media developed specifically for Landscapes of Extraction. Using media stations, individuals are able to personally connect and correlate how their energy use impacts the planet.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.