4. BETWEEN THE BOTTOMLANDS & THE WORLD

2015
Ryan Griffis & Sarah Ross
Video, creative writing, photography, printed materials

Between the Bottomlands & the World is a multi-part documentary focused on Beardstown, IL, a rural Midwestern town of 6000 people that sits on the Illinois River. It is based on discussion and consultation with Professor Faranak Miraftab (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), whose original research on Beardstown can be found in her 2016 book Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking. Using creative writing and documentary video & photography, Between the Bottomlands & the World, brings together an environmental and social history of a town and its surrounding region that has seen dramatic changes resulting from colonial land use and industrial agricultural practices.

Between the Bottomlands & the World was produced in the context of a larger publishing platform by Ryan Griffis/Sarah Ross titled Regional Relationships.
Visit the project website

Components

Video Trilogy
SD video, sound.
The video series tells a story of Beardstown in three acts.
Act One: Submerging Land, portrays a landscape massively engineered to redirect water for the production of commodity crops.
Act Two: Granular Space, is a meditation on the movement and scale of the international grain trade–from one seed to millions of bushels, moved from field, to elevator, to barge, to ocean going vessel.
Act Three: Moving Flesh, chronicles how and why so many people from around the world have come to Beardstown, a formerly all-white, Sundown town of 6000 people.

ABOVE: short excerpt of Moving Flesh
Additional credits: sound design by M. Anthony Reimer; musical score for Moving Flesh by Mark Cooley, production assistance by Casey Puccini.
Moving Flesh stars: Karen Alderidge, John Gray, Saren Nofs-Snyder, Yunuen Pardo, Mateo Smith, Eddie Torres
Funding and support provided by The Illinois Arts Council and The College of Fine & Applied Arts and the School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Limited Edition Printed Mailer
4-color digital printing, nine 6×9 cards containing documentary photographs and creative writing, 12×18 photographic montage, DVD, sewed and stamped folder.

Gallery Installation
Mounted digital prints, varying sizes.

Images below from installation at Gallery 400 (University of Illinois, Chicago), as part of the exhibition Here, There, Everywhere, 2014.