Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, “Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields” Feb, 6-March 15

Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, “Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields” Feb, 6-March 15

  • Date: February 6th, 2019 - March 15th, 2019
  • Every day
  • Location: Climenhaga and High Center Galleries
  • Time: 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Cost: Free and open to the public

Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, “Shale Play: Documentary Art by Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin” Feb, 4-March 15

Shale Play, a singular work from an award-winning poet and a veteran documentary photographer, tracks the natural gas boom in the small towns, fields and forests of Appalachian Pennsylvania. In the era of the visual and verbal meme, Rubin and Kasdorf pair documentary poems with photographs in a volume that can be held in the human hand and shared, even in communities that lack high speed internet access. 

Text and images fall into intimate conversation as a reader turns the pages, drawn by beauty as well as the disturbance and spectacle created by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—transient industrial processes that often take place in remote locations far from the suburban populations that benefit from fracking. Lean in and listen to human voices behind the easy caricatures of the white working class. Look at the particularities that underlie a false opposition that pits those who are pro-jobs and pro-energy against those who are pro-environment. See how long memories of coal and lumber extraction and attachment to place can sustain resilience and a determination to speak up.

Amidst polarized claims about fracking, this project aims to gather evidence from everyday life in the Marcellus Shale Play, to make visible the places and working populations that have suffered job loss and outmigration in recent decades.  A passionate work of listening, looking and witness, Shale Play follows the documentarians of the 1930s but in color and contemporary poetics, and once again dares us to care.

Gallery Shale play drilling rig and well pad 2014 photo by steven rubin


For more information about Julia Spicher Kasdorf, please see her website. For more information about Steven Rubin, please see his website

Feb. 6–March 15
Climenhaga Building, Climenhaga Galleries (upper) and lobby

Reception, poetry reading and artist's talk Thursday, Feb. 7, 4:15 p.m.