The Unnatural Natural: Two Films about Environmental Hazard

The Pullman State Historic Site and South Side Projections present two films concerning memory and time, the politics of landscape, and uncertain and uncontainable environmental risk. The free screening is at 2pm on Saturday, June 1 at the historic “clock tower building” at 11057 S. Cottage Grove Ave.


Phoebe Brush’s Yucca Mtn Tally (2013, 21 min., DVD projection) is “a desert meditation on America’s first national high-level nuclear waste repository.” And Sarah Kanouse’s Around Crab Orchard (2013, 69 min., DVD projection) is an examination of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois, which is also a Superfund clean-up site contaminated with PCBs and cadmium. Kanouse assembles a fascinating study of the refuge using documents, found footage, and conversations with activists, writers, and local residents. Both Brush and Kanouse will be in attendance for post-film discussion.

The choice of the Pullman site is no accident: just as the films contemplate natural sites compromised by industrial waste, the Pullman factory site, polluted by years of industry, is now the home of a bird sanctuary and raised-bed gardening.

When: Saturday, June 1 at 2pm
Where: 11057 S. Cottage Grove Ave. (enter on Cottage Grove)
Cost: Free!
Parking: Free!
Transportation: Metra Electric Trains to 111th or 115th Streets from Millennium Station; or I-94 exit at 111th Street (exit 66A), and travel west on 111th to Cottage Grove.

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Pullman State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, preserves portions of an industrial complex developed in the early 1880s to build luxury railroad passenger cars. The plant was the centerpiece of a company-owned town, complete with workers’ residences, church, market and recreational facilities.