The aesthetics of calamity has a storied tradition. Even when the circumstances of our lives turn toward difficulty, the artistic impulse distills the sensory materials of life into creative, expressive forms. Storytelling about coal production, human exploitation, and cultural destruction in Appalachia has persisted for decades, and the question of what is left to say about it burns hard in an era when entire mountains continue to be overturned every day, and passive, virtual-world habits determind people's interpretations of the natural world and cultural experience. Through a collage of original fiction and poetry, visual art and photography, drama and musical performance, we will construct the material of Appalachia's environmental calamity into a primary experience for participants to help invigorate reflection on home landcapes and the ongoing assault on Appalachia and its people.
Karl Zuelke, College of Mount St. Joseph
Michael Henson, musician, author and activist
Sherry Cook Stanforth, Thomas More College