The Transitional Spaces series is heavily informed by the landscape in the Great Plains region of the United States, where groundwater pivot irrigation is widely used to support industrial agriculture. Through a mix of industrial and hand-made processes, this body of work raises questions around sustainability and the industrial nature of our food production, while also functioning as a tribute to the unseen manual labor in our food supply. Referencing satellite imagery, circles from irrigation, squares delineated by roadways, and the repeated linear elements of plowed fields are drawn upon for inherent colors, forms, patterns, and textures. These repeated geometric forms cover thousands of square miles. When flying over this region, the mechanized marks of human intervention are on stark view and can be seen and experienced in ways not noticeable from the ground. The sheer scale is awe inspiring and unsettling. Waterjet cut aluminum serves as a reference to this industrial nature of our food supply, while allowing water to be an integral part of the works creation. Through the process of groundwater pivot irrigation, the demands of industrial agriculture are draining the Ogallala Aquifer more quickly than it can be naturally replenished. Once this aquifer is exhausted, the landscape will transition from its cultivated form, back into its natural state. The local economies, along with all of us who rely on this extensive food supply, will be required to transition as well. The titles in each work are taken from the GPS coordinates of the satellite source images.
The area of the Great Plains region referenced in this work has been the traditional homeland of the Kiowa, Mescalero Apache, Comanche and Lipan Apache people. Native People have stewarded the land in the Great Plains region for thousands of years prior to European colonization, sustaining relationships with water sources so different from the nonrenewable extractive practices currently in use today.
All images copyright of Steve Rossi.