October 16, 2017

Divinity and Fried Bread at Angel Peak

By Alex Kinney
Angel Peak, Four Corners, NM
September 22, 2017

Angel Peak was a weird place and was not what I expected. I learned a lot about people here and Sunny’s storytelling and healing exercise was engaging and thought provoking. I think, mentally, this site was the most exhausting in a way. The drawing above is a symbol for the divine. Sunny had us draw things very quickly as a part of a healing process. Divinity is about goodness, coexistence, and protection. It is a very high energy!

October 15, 2017

Opening Up

By Adele Ardent
Four Corners, NM
September 22, 2017

There is a moment that often follows a sudden opening-up of space.

Sometimes, you meet this moment bleary-eyed, stumbling from a late bed to pull aside the curtains and reveal a morning already half-lost to the high-climbing light; sometimes, it finds you when the incoherent pools illuminating unfamiliar city streets resolve into a coherent narrative threaded in orange and gold light. In that moment, eyes and mind look past confining spaces to focus on further, and yet further, distances.

The lands here in the Southwest seem to live in that moment of readjustment ceaselessly, with the earth both perpetually torn open to the sky and yet always frozen in the moment of tearing wider still. It is easy, standing here sky-washed, to imagine each breath borne high and away by untouchable rivers of cloud and star.

It is easy, under these skies, to believe the lie that there is an “away” at all.

I find myself wanting to believe this lie; I find myself wanting to believe that everything will be fine.

In taking pictures of the human disruptions caused by fracking, I’ve found myself focusing upwards instead. Using the panorama algorithm on my phone, I’ve tried to stitch together as many bolts of blue sky and filmy cloud as I can gather by reaching arms overhead and bending back (and back and back further still.)

I want these human disturbances to be as minuscule as they look to be when compared to the immensity of the air. Little truths told by other senses out this lie, of course—a tightness in the chest when Daniel Tso led us on the tour of fracking sites, the sudden pain when blood drips from the nose in the bright-ringing dawn of a bell-clear day, dreams filled with generator vibrations, traveling along eardrum and jaw into gritted teeth.

I want to return to these places to put more pieces of sky together, and reconcile conflicting aims: I want to see the sky as a giant quilt of breath that I can rest comfortably under, big enough to forgive any stain. I want to piece together a way to reveal the lie.

October 14, 2017


By Ruby Pluhar
Angel Peak, Four Corners, NM
September 21, 2017

Gaining an understanding in to the Navajo culture and how it has been exploited by oil and gas extraction units was incredibly overwhelming during our stay at Angel Peak, where we camped right in the middle of it all. At night, the view became a sea of flashing artificial lights pinpointing where all of the fracking was going on and I was left with constant headaches from all the gases roaming in the air. Working with activist Daniel and storyteller Sunny gave an immense amount of insight firsthand in to how their native lands have been totally disregarded and we gained history of their beliefs and traditions. I feel these portraits share insight in to their characters. I really connected with all the stories Sunny shared with us as we sat together through rain and sunshine. As Sunny so rightly stated, “Art heals.”.


October 13, 2017

The Flare, or for those who can't escape

By Viola Arduini
Angel Peak, Four Corners, NM
September 22, 2017

Excerpt from infrared video of a gas flare, some goats around

The Four Corners region is a heart-wrenching land. 

Beautiful and fierce as the South West often is, it is also a land of deep, human-made, wounds. The metal pipes cut and pierce the ground, the noise and the smell are sometimes unbearable. Sonny told me "Look at that, knife blades inside the flesh of our mother Earth". I follow her gaze to a big oil pump. A mix of anger, sadness and frustration made my heart accelerating 

Sometimes, there is a cloud of methane on the region that is visible from the space. On the other hands, stars are becoming more difficult to see now from Chaco Canyon due to gas and light pollution in the area. 

We all felt sick on the first few days at Angel Peak. But we eventually left, toward new sites. What happens to all those people, human and non, that have their home on that suffering land?  

October 12, 2017

I Luv Shadows – photo evidence

By Mikala Sterling
Chaco Canyon, Four Corners, NM
September 24, 2017

Apparently was brought here as a baby and set down in a nicho and almost bitten by a rattlesnake… I have no memory of this! It’s all hearsay-

Mesmerized by Chacoan relationship with architecture and astronomy
Shadow (and light) moments:


October 11, 2017

Dancing With The Sand

By Issy Arnold
Angel Peak, Four Corners, NM
September 25th, 2017

Sunny told us our hair is attached to the stars and Daniel said his Grandfather once walked him round a hogan and told him the name for every single piece of wood used to build it.
It was really overwhelming to hear Navajo stories passing down a respect and understanding for the equality of all things in the universe  at the same time as learning about and seeing (and hearing) the earth being ripped open and creatures on the surface destroyed through fracking.
I wasn’t really sure how to deal with all this information so I did the thing you do when nothing else works - I DANCED

As I was dancing this poem popped up on my iPod and it seemed to sum up how I was feeling at that exact moment pretty well.  

October 10, 2017

School Bus Loading Zone

By Amy Catherine Hulshoff
Angel Peak (Fracking Reality Tour), Four Corners, NM
September 22nd, 2017

                    There is really nothing OK about what is happening in the Four Corner’s region. Not only is the exploitation of land and language difficult to swallow, but also the air itself is difficult to breathe. I don’t think any of us expected such an acidic environment, with such an awesome view. Even the view is stained with a low flying brown and green cloud that all but conceals the environmental impact the power plants and oil extraction fields have on this space and its inhabitants. We weren’t on site but two days before some of us began to feel ill and out of sorts. I could not imagine being forced to accept this type of pollution as my home, let alone as the fate of the home of my ancestors.

                   And for me this is not the case. I am able to get in the van and leave, to go home to my apartment and put this region far enough away that I am able to breathe again. Daniel Tso tells us it is all about choices. This does not seem like a place of choices, unless you are on the refinery’s payroll. They paint the pumps and water tanks green, as though we won’t notice them punctuating the landscape, drawing from an empty well. Ironically, some of these pumping stations are solar powered. Even the oil and gas companies do not bother to deny the simplicity and functionality of solar power. Nothing about this place is OK. Choice and agency feel are a phantom here.

October 9, 2017


By Paul Ross
Wild Rivers, NM
September 11, 2017

7 September – The more I look at rivers, the more I am convinced that they are exquisite portraits of life-in-world.

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11 September – And after time, our bodies came to find ways through the stones more easily. Our joints and limbs separated and collided, our bipedal tendencies swinging like ersatz pendulums to find paths of least resistance.
It is not difficult to imagine a body like mine becoming more and more used to this way of moving. Less and less attached with any one orientation or rhythm. Given enough time, it is not difficult to imagine a state of dynamic grace emerging from the repeated motions. I would venture to call that way of being-moving-thinking-doing, water.

Everything alive comes from the sea or a river or a stream. Or from rain, or snow, or cloud. That’s where We all come from, and where We all return to.

October 8, 2017

Maps to Minds

By Adele Ardent Eden
Wild Rivers, NM
September 11, 2017

Throughout this trip, I’ve been very interested in the myriad thoughts, preconceptions, and preoccupations that get in one’s way when it comes to seeing the non-human clearly. In Cunningham Gulch, near the headwaters of the Rio Grande, I tried to record the intrusive thoughts that kept pulling me away from the present moment and place, with the hope that I might somehow allow for the chance to wipe these (irrelevant?) thoughts away from my internal lens.

In this related work, conducted at the Little Arsenic campground and surrounding trails at the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, I approached questions of perception in another way, by asking members of our group to trace a view of the landscape which I could then use as a map to locate the exact location they used as a viewing-point. As I climbed and circled around in search of these locations, scrambling over rocky terrain, I was in constant engagement with the versions of the people I had created in my mind, trying to connect what I “knew” about them—how they acted, how they felt, where they might go, and what they might do—with the world around me.

One of my frustrations in contemplating these landscapes is that, while breathtakingly gorgeous, they threaten to remain mere beautiful backdrops, “things” which I have no real relationship with. In part, this project was meant to seek a sense of connection to place by co-opting the connections that others felt, while also trying to get a “true” sense of the place by looking at it through a literal handful of viewpoints. I found it interesting (and not a little disturbing) how much more engaged I felt in the land after adding an additional layer of human intention between me and the natural world: There are certain very specific places that I had my own attachment to, where I spent considerable time conducting my own work. Yet, in examining the sweeping vistas or details of the spume around the river rocks, I spent far longer than I would have otherwise in looking and thinking about the life-histories of the plants, rocks, landforms, and creatures: I spent time considering that this rock formation wasn’t as wind-sculpted and water-ravaged as the one depicted on the map, or that this dead tree had likely been dead longer than the one depicted, as it had lost more branches.

Map” by Paul Ross. Photos by Adele Ardent Eden

In retrospect, I thought more about these histories when looking through the maps than I did for the areas that I “used” in my own work simply because I was coming to these places
needing from rather than doing to. I “needed” these places to communicate information back to me, as I was constantly asking “here, or here?” through my actions as I moved around, rather than declaring “I’m making this happen!” as I did with my own work.

Map” by Melisse Watson. Photos by Adele Ardent Eden.

WiLd RiVerS

Alex Kinney
Wild Rivers NM
September 15, 2017

Wild Rivers was insane. Walking down to the river and spending all day by it (the Rio Grande) was great. I had a very experiential moment here at Wild Rivers. It was a very sensory moment (hour or so) where I was sitting by the river looking at the sun with my eyes closed. When I do this a particular pattern (both organic and geometric) is out in front of me. It is like energy or light that moves. Normally the pattern is recognizable and doesn’t alter much in Albuquerque. But here the light began changing rapidly moving and guiding me. From this a more concrete and consolidated pattern emerged and finally I flashed into a crisp view of a river (different from the one in front of me).
I then covered by eyes with my hands and the same process happened and I was underwater in a blue-purple water looking at white rocks.

I think the large heated rocks by the Rio Grande and the sun’s energy and the noises of the Rio Grande yielded this experience. Maybe too much sun did too.

October 7, 2017

The spirit of the water

By Ruby Pluhar
Wild Rivers, NM
September 8, 2017

I am constantly brought back to the water, and return daily to the same magical spot that I found on my first hike down to the little springs of the wild scenic rivers on our first day here. I head down early, and watch the morning sun rise and glide over the water watching the glistening hues of yellow, greens and blues come to life. I am drawn to how the rock formations sculpt the fluidity of the water, resulting in abstraction of shape in all sorts of otherworldly kinds. I began noticing how the shapes seemed to mimic movements and textures of the body. I decided to take a series of images of Mikala around the space, playing with reflections and the rhythm of the water. I took special attention to choose clothing where the textures and tones of the fabrics corresponded to their environment to personify Mikala as a spirit of the water. The glisten of the water began to mirror in the sparkle of the silver trousers, and her burgundy vest with the richness of the sand.

October 6, 2017

The drop

By Viola Arduini
Wild Rivers, NM
September 10, 2017

There is a rim at Wildrivers. The mesa - covered in sagebrush, pinyons and junipers - suddenly drops in a cliff. The Rio Grande has been created is recess, a lush gorge that remains invisible from distance. You need to get close to see it. 

My tent was right on the cliff. Feeling the drop so close to myself made me feeling dizzy and inebriated. The birds where flying high in the sky, over the river, but at the height of my eyes. It is then that I understood. I understood that I want to be one of them.  

I put elastic band on my arm, I wanted to have feathered wings. The rubber was cutting into my flesh, underlining the inadequacy of my heavy body.  

I shoot it in both visible light and ultraviolet. Birds can see both. 
The white feathers I was using look black in UV. I wonder how many other things we see differently.