“My Electric Genealogy” is a 60-minute, auto-ethnographic lecture-performance that weaves together live narration, choreographed movement, documentary video, and sound to address the climate justice ramifications of the electrical grid the artist’s grandfather helped to design and build. For nearly forty years, Ed Kanouse designed, planned, and supervised the spider-vein network of lines connecting Los Angeles to its distant sources of electric power. … Years later, the artist learned his legacy also included some of the most polluting fossil fuel infrastructure in the country—mostly located on Navajo land. …Taking up Donna Haraway’s call to “make oddkin,” My Electric Genealogy proceeds from an imaginative re-reading of the artist’s family tree, refiguring as relations both the electrical infrastructure of Los Angeles and the desert ecologies, organisms, and human histories it connects. Weaving together episodes of the artist’s grandfather’s life, anxious fantasies about my child’s climate-challenged future, and stories of resistance and resilience from the front lines of centuries of extractivism, “My Electric Genealogy” is an essayistic, auto-ethnographic working-through of this personal and collective inheritance.
Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist and critical writer examining the politics of landscape and space. Migrating between video, photography, and performative forms, her research-based creative projects shift the visual dimension of the landscape to allow hidden stories of environmental and social transformation to emerge.
A habitual collaborator, Sarah Kanouse recently worked with Ryan Griffis and Nicholas Brown, on the the Anthropocene Drift field station for Mississippi: An Anthropocene River, sponsored by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. She was one half of the National Toxic Land/Labor Conservation Service, a ‘wishful’ government agency addressing the cultural and ecological impacts of nuclear militarism, and a core member of Compass, an art collaborative best known for staging a series of performative hearings into the intergenerational and inter-species impacts of industrial agriculture on regional and global eco-social systems. With Nicholas Brown, she explored landscapes of settler commemoration in the Midwest in the photo-text book Re-Collecting Black Hawk (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).
For more on Sarah Kanouse: http://readysubjects.org/portfolio/bio/