Clay and Water
Mika Fengler's photography considers how development is affecting Atlanta
By Mika Fengler
Artist: Mika Fengler
Project: “Clay and Water”
Description: In “Clay and Water,” Mika Fengler considers how development is affecting Atlanta, known as the “City in the Forest,” by photographing creeks that feed into the South River and their surrounding land. A point of conflict and activism in Atlanta, the South River is an urban waterway that faces pollution from the city’s development and whose headwaters run through the Weelaunee Forest—which itself faces losing substantial acreage to the construction of the Atlanta Police Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City” by citizens, and to a contentious land swap with the founder of a movie studio. Along other creeks with the same destination, development booms in response to a growing job market and appeal of the BeltLine—a greenway connecting parks, neighborhoods, and trails.
In “Clay and Water,” Fengler questions how progress can be detrimental when we lose sight of a place’s history, ecological impact, and the voices of Black and Indigenous communities. The images refrain from overt analysis, choosing instead to be a point of reflection. Alternative processes are used to reference the changing environment and precarity of city green spaces. For Fengler, the practice of photography is a buffer against “the incessant drumming of capitalism’s effects on culture and the land—which at times feels deafening and unstoppable. The act of creating provides space to contemplate relationships to the Earth and take into consideration what defines progress and for whom.”
Curated by: EWANG