Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist, and legal worker. In addition to her studio practice, she has been a human rights observer during political uprisings across the country. From the struggle for water rights in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, to the frontlines of Ferguson, MO and Standing Rock, ND. Her collages and constructed landscapes are informed by these events. Merola lives in Detroit, MI and is the 2019 – 2020 Interim Artist In Residence in the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Merola will discuss her legal work with environmental justice and water rights groups across
the Midwest, and how this research inspired the conceptual photo series “We All Live Downwind”.
The images in We All Live Downwind are culled from daily headlines –inspired by both global and grassroots struggles against the forces of privatization in the face of disaster capitalism. In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes about the free market driven exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries saying, “the original disaster—the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane — puts the entire population into a state of collective shock”. The scenes in We All Live Downwind, have
been carved out of dystopian landscapes in the aftermath of these events. On the surface, rubble hints at layers of oil and shale, cracked and bubbling from the earth below. Rising from another mound, rows of empty mobile homes bake beneath the summer sun. The bust of
small towns left dry in the aftermath of supply and demand. In this place, only fragments of people remain, their mechanical gestures left tending to the chaos on auto. Reduced to survival, their struggle against an increasingly hostile environment goes unnoticed. Beyond the upheaval of production a bending highway promises never-ending expansion - and that low rumble you hear to the west is getting louder.
About Converge Detroit
Converge Detroit, is bringing artists, thinkers, academics and cultural workers together to consider the inaugural conference’s theme: Beyond Space: Unbounded Theory and Practice. Throughout the day, attendees will have an opportunity to hear short presentations from 14 invited artists and scholars covering a broad range of disciplines. “Converge Detroit” will be held on October 19th at the Detroit School of Arts (123 Selden Street, Detroit, MI 48201) from 11:30am-6pm, followed by the opening of the “Beyond Space” exhibition and artist reception at 7pm. Visit www.convergeDetroit.com or www.thecarrcenter.org for more information or to register.
The Carr Center
Born out of the Arts League of Michigan in 2009, the Carr Center has been furthering the organization’s mission to “preserve, present, promote and develop the African and African-
American cultural arts traditions within our multicultural community” for the past decade. The Carr Center has also established a network of community hubs to provide wider access to art via a constellation of venues set up throughout the city of Detroit.