Unit 2

Unit 2: The Global Local

July 16, 6pm at KMAC

Screening and Discussion: “Between the Bottomlands & The World” by Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross


About Between the Bottomlands & the World:
During the growth of industrial manufacturing in North America, Midwestern cities attracted immigrant workers, becoming hubs for those seeking work. Likewise, that same era saw the growth of small towns that supported the many surrounding farms. Today, rust-belt cities and rural towns struggle to survive the economic devastation wrought by farm consolidation and deindustrialization. Beardstown, IL has been cited as something of a success story, as it has kept a stable population in the face of these changes. The residents of the town have, however, radically changed; once an all-white sundown town, it now has a sizable population of new immigrants. Yet, as social struggles have been fought and won in this small town, its existence now relies on the multinational corporate giant, Cargill. Between the Bottomlands & the World explores this multi-faceted place of global exchange and international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA realities.


Ryan Griffis is an artist currently teaching in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Under the name Temporary Travel Office, Ryan creates work and publications that attempt to use tourism as an opportunity for critical public encounters. His writing has appeared in publications such as New Art Examiner, RePublic, ArtUS, Artlink, Rhizome and Furtherfield and he has curated exhibitions for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Turbulence.org, Greenmuseum.org and George Mason University.

Sarah Ross is an artist who works in sculpture, video and photo. Her projects use narrative and the body to address spatial concerns as they relate to access, class, anxiety and activism. She has co-curated exhibitions at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, Sea and Space Explorations, Los Angeles, and PS122, New York. Sarah teaches at The School of the Art Institute Chicago and an Illinois state prison, and works with local initiatives to provide education and literature to people in Illinois prisons.

Ryan and Sarah both work collaboratively with Compass and together as Regional Relationships; both projects explore the social and economic landscapes of the Midwest.



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