Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Evading Highway Hypnosis:
Environmental Audio Journies Along "Invisible 5"

--Feature: "Inside the Green Museum w/Moe Beitiks"--

Highway hypnosis. Ever started out on a drive and woke up at your destination? There's the interstate system for ya: drive for miles and see nothing but road, hills and rest stops (plus maybe the occasional sign that says "EAT NOW."). There's that big stinky feedlot you pass sometimes. The one with miles and miles of cows wading in their own filth. That one warned you it was coming a couple of miles off. You can smell the stink of industrial meat production.

Some affronts to the environment, however, are much less apparent. It's these places and issues, seen and unseen, that artists Amy Balkin, Tim Halbur and Kim Stringfellow examine together with the organizations Greenaction, and Pond, in Invisible 5. The piece is a downloadable audio file that you can listen to while driving down (or up) California's highway 5, an artery that connects San Francisco and Los Angeles. The "audio tours" include interviews from local residents, nonprofits, professionals and academics who combat issues of pollution and health all along the otherwise scenic interstate. Here you thought tule fog was just a beautiful driving hazard-- turns out it holds higher concentrations of pesticide pollution and chemicals, such as ammonia, than surrounding air.

Not your average giant-dinosaur highway tour by far. But Invisible 5 manages to stay informative, not alarmist, and very effective at preventing highway hypnosis.

"Inside the Green Museum" is written by Moe Beitiks who is the Blog Editor for greenmuseum.org. She is also a writer, gardener, artist and biofuel lackey living in Oakland, California.

1 comment:

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