Monday, November 3, 2014

Micah Cash

Micah Cash explores how landscapes and their social histories influence cultural geography. Themes of ownership, demarcation, and utilization are explored through painting and photography. Such investigations contemplate the shifting social, economic, architectural, and political forces that define particular landscapes, as well as the cultures that are dependent upon them. Micah earned his MFA in painting and photography from the University of Connecticut in 2014 and received BFA in painting and art history from the University of South Carolina. He has exhibited his work nationally, most recently in Atlanta, Georgia, Lubbock, Texas, and Ithaca, New York. He lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a part-time lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Dangerous Waters Project Statement 

This project investigates the contemporary social impact of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). They explore the complex definitions of landscapes designed for both hydroelectric cultivation and recreation. In addition, these locations have become visual reminders of loss, population removal, and eminent domain. The sacrifices are privately internalized and the social benefits publicly celebrated.

TVA is the largest public provider of electricity in the United States. Established in 1933, it provides wholesale electricity throughout a seven state area while managing the navigable waters of the Tennessee River and its tributaries. The massive project and the modernization it promised the region came with a cost, and that cost was land. Overall, the government purchased 1.3 million acres of land, forcibly removed over 13,000 families, and relocated 20,000 graves.

This was not a one-time transaction. Social and cultural consequences continue to reverberate throughout the region. Ultimately, TVA has cultivated a particular ecosystem – one of quiet control and social welfare. It is a manicured landscape of power and ownership, utilitarian in practice and utopian in concept.

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