Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy | Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College | Galleries | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Terry Evans, Petcoke piles with sprinklers at KCBX site on Calumet River, 2014

Terry Evans, Petcoke piles with sprinklers at KCBX site on Calumet River, 2014

Terry Evans

Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy 

When: July 21-Oct. 9 2016
As far back as Ecclesiastes 3:20—"All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return"—dust has been acknowledged as an elemental constant in the natural world. However, certain types of the powdery substance aren't so beneficial to Mother Nature. Take petcoke, or petroleum coke, the dustlike carbon material derived as a by-product of the oil-refining process. Around four years ago, Chicago's southeast-side residents began to notice that the mountains of black dust along the banks of the Calumet River were having a negative impact on air quality and public health. Transported on trains from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, petcoke was being stored at three sites on the southeast side, only a few hundred yards from residential areas. The exhibition "Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography alerts visitors that petcoke is a local and global hazard. Partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southeast Environmental Task Force, curators Natasha Egan and Karen Irvine commissioned new works by eight artists and collaborative teams whose responses to this issue are displayed throughout the three floors of the museum. Continue reading >>

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