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Answering Earth

Chris Mortenson.jpg

Chris Mortenson

The Mesabi Range in Minnesota is a geographical area that spans 110 miles from the towns of Grand Rapids to Babbitt. Subterrainly noted by an elongate trend of cherty Precambrian iron-rich deposit, The Range produces seventy-five percent of the iron ore in the United States. There are currently six mines producing ore and many that have been exhausted or abandoned along the expanse. The ore is removed through open- pit mining leaving vast and deep scars on the landscape, but the unusable soil - known as overburden - which is removed to get to the iron-rich deposits below is piled into small mountains along The Range, leaving the geographic area in a constant state of topographic flux.

Tumulus is a visual investigation of this human-altered landscape, but it is also a document of the cultural and societal complexities of The Range. It is an area that is largely dependent on the economical might of the mining industry, yet subject to market booms and busts. As the country has moved further away from a manufacturing-based economy, The Range has seen its own economic hardships. These hardships ebb and flow with the market and the political gamesmanship of the present terrif wars.

'Answering Earth' archives 15 artworks displayed in the virtual exhibition Answering Earth— organized by Rural Midwest Artist Collective, with guest juror Jason Brown (@miningthelandscape). The exhibition called for any media concerned with the subject of land-use. 

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