A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado

Screenshot showing a website homepage. The header reads "A People's Atlas of Nuclear Colorado," and links including "Introduction," "The Earth/Whose Earth?," "Extraction/Overburden," and "Refining/Exposure" are aligned on either end of a transit-map-type line. There is a bookmark link, a search button, and a hamburger menu in the upper right hand corder. The background image shows a black and white art collage showing hands superimposed in the sky and holding a bright light.
Screenshot of homepage for A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado, edited by Sarah Kanouse and Shiloh Krupar

A People’s Atlas of the Nuclear Colorado is a digital public humanities project that documents and interprets the relational geographies of nuclear materials developed and deployed by the United States. With contributions by scholars, students, and artists, the Atlas offers the public an opportunity to explore, research, and document nuclear materials and ecologies of Colorado.

Powered by the Scalar publishing platform, the Atlas is loosely organized around the nuclear fuel cycle, from extraction, milling, and processing to the assembly and deployment of weapons to the storage and monitoring of waste. It challenges, however, conventional models of this process by weaving in its “shadow side:” environmental contamination, workplace exposures, boom and bust economies, geopolitical instability. Navigable both by browsing thematic paths and searching by keyword, the Atlas is structured to articulate scalar relationships—between the local and the planetary, between policy and the personal. It presents cartographic, textual and image-based information on nuclear processes in order to foster active interpretation and meaning-making on the part of its users. The Atlas seeks to be a living document that infuses discussion about nuclear policy and memory with humanistic forms of inquiry and public engagement.

Select Media and Events

Interview with Shiloh Krupar by Gabriella Gricius and Bridgett Neff-Hickman, Disrupt Podcast, November 30, 2021.

Georgetown University, Mortara Center for International Studies, “Spatial Justice as Research Practice,” panel with Hokulani K Aikau, Alex Gil, Vernadette V Gonzalez, Sarah Kanouse, and Shiloh Krupar, chaired by Arjun Shankar with respondent Joanna Guldi, September 21, 2021.

Northeastern University, Center for Maps, Texts, and Networks, “At People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado,” panel co-chaired by Sarah Kanouse and Shiloh Krupar, with Atlas contributors Stephanie Malin, Abbey Hepner, Mallory Quetawki, Jen Richter, Gretchen Heefner, Nareg Kuyumjian, Marion Hourdequin, Yuki Miyamoto, and Kate Chandler.

Interview by Kyveli Mavrokordopolou, “Spotting Radioactive Hot Spots” Ecoes 1 (2021): 80-91.


Kanouse, Sarah and Shiloh Krupar, eds. “A People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado,” www.coloradonuclearatlas.org, 2021-. Funded in part by Georgetown  University.

Animate Landscapes

Composite of two animation images. On the left is a white man on horseback near a monument splattered with oil, on the right is a handdrawn mountain
Composite publicity image featuring stills from Annapurna Kumar and Sarah Kanouse

The escalating climate crisis is making visible what was always true: no neat boundary exists between human and more-than-human worlds. “Nature” is a social fiction turned material fact, used to justify everything from resource extraction to wilderness preservation to racial hierarchies. The land and organisms we shape become the contours of our world. They form the basis of all sustenance, imprint themselves in our psyches, undergird the built environment, and enliven cultural narratives. This 90-minute collection of experimental media explores the bio-geo-social lives of the land and its actors, both human and more-than, through a range of experimental approaches, including meditation, animation, documentation, collage, and performance.

Core Films

The Bear in the Valley, Deke Weaver, 2019, 38:00

Grassland, Sarah Kanouse, 2019, 19:20

Rotating Short Media Selections

Dear Climate, Hello Virus, 2012, 5:46

Kelly Gallagher, Ceallaigh at Kilmainham, 2013, 7:14

Tia-Simone Gardner, There’s Something in the Water, 2019, 6:12

Julia Hechtman, Double Blind, 2017, 2:35

Heidi Kumao, Swallowed Whole, 2014, 4:06

Annapurna Kumar, Mountain Castle Mountain Flower Plastic, 2017, 3:08

Anna Luisa Petrisko, In The Tree, 2017, 3:48

Vanessa Renwick, The Mighty Tacoma, 2011, 9:11

Corinne Teed, Feral Utopias, 2015, 7:00

Marina Zurkow, Hydrocarbons, 2011, 2:32

Screening History

Strikethrough indicates Coronavirus cancellation

Nightingale Cinema, Chicago, IL – May 21, 2020

Cellular Cinema, Minneapolis, MN -May 17, 2020 – guest curated by Corinne Teed

Northwest Film Center, Portland, OR – May 14, 2020

Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, CA – April 11, 2020

Rhizome DC, Washington, DC – October 12, 2019

Public Space One, Iowa City, IA – September 30, 2019

Anthropocene Drift

Anthropocene Drift was a 18-month research-creation platform sited in the Driftless area of Wisconsin and spreading into Western Illinois undertaken in collaboration with Nicholas Brown and Ryan Griffis as part of Mississippi: An Anthropocene River. The territory is characterized by two distinct landscapes: the Driftless Area, defined by scenic hills and bluffs and spared from the effects of the Wisconsinan Glaciation, and the Corn Belt, defined by endless expanses of predominantly flat and rectilinear fields of monocrops. The geological histories that produced the striking topographical differences between these landscapes made colonization, settlement, and agriculture play out differently, which affects how these regions may far in the climate and cultural changes of the present and near-futures.

Anthropocene Drift produced three public-facing projects.  Field Guides to the Anthropocene Drift is a series of artful guidebooks, each responding to a different cultural and/or scientific aspect of the Anthropocene in this geographical region. The second component of the Field Station is Over the Levee, Under the Plow, a four day mobile symposium that positions the agro-engineering of rural America within the broader framework of settler colonialism in order to attend to the historical, political and epistemic roots of the agricultural and environmental crisis. The third is Moraine/Terminal, a mobile gathering space and library that accompanied the symposium on its winding journey. Unfolding in small towns around the Mississippi River, the program brings together agroecologists, Native leaders, local residents, international scholars for a series of events, tours, and small group discussions to better understand the origins of the present landscape and to build alliances for more just and sustainable alternatives.


Nicholas Brown, Ryan Griffis, Sarah Kanouse, Field Station 2: Anthropocene Drift, with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and Goethe Institute, Chicago.

Beyond Survival

Screenshot of web publication featuring partial image and text
Screenshot from web publishing project, Beyond Survival (2018-19)

In the winter and spring of 2018 I found myself frustrated equally by the annual Republican call to defund the NEH and NEA and by the contortions performed by many scholars and cultural workers conform narrow range of “fundability.” I approached Art Journal Open to convene a forum on the state of “support” for the arts and humanities today – broadly defined. “Beyond Survival” began as an open call for reflections on the state of arts funding in the United States as it actually manifests today. I hoped to facilitate a conversation that would go beyond shoring up the inadequate conditions of the present to consider the social functions fulfilled—and left unfilled—by the current landscape of support, as well as what emerging forms of artistic, intellectual, and political agency can be taken to affirmatively shape more desirable conditions in the future.

In October 2018, Art Journal Open published nearly twenty five responses grouped into four thematic categories: Beyond Neoliberalism, In Whose Interest?, Precarity and Potential, and Models and Case Studies. We invited four respondents to develop slightly longer position papers, which were released in Spring 2019. Over a year after the project was conceived I revisited the original prompt and the responses in a short essay in terms of the socio-ecological urgencies of the climate emergency.

See Beyond Survival on Art Journal Open

Exuberant Politics

Demonstration with pink letters reading Exuberant Politics

“Rather than advocate for a capital “P” Party [Democrat, Republican, Green…], we wanted to bring the ‘lower case ‘p’’ party where we could create an atmosphere where people were comfortable enough to dance and chat about politics.”

-Rachel Caidor and Dara Greenwald, “The 7 Ps of Pink Bloque”

“Exuberant Politics” is a yearlong program at the University of Iowa examining recent intersections of art and activism in the US. Grassroots political actions have increasingly used creative, performative means not merely to communicate a message but to create transformative, aesthetic experiences that prefigure a more just and democratic world. Exuberance means joyfulness, liveliness, even superabundance, but at its Latin root it is also ‘fruitful’ and ‘productive.’ Where have we experienced exuberance in protest and affinity? What has it produced, and how? Focusing on the period roughly bookmarked by the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle and varied initiatives stemming from Occupy Wall Street (Occupy Sandy, Strike Debt, etc.), the program will bring together numerous campus and community groups for a series of screenings, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and panel discussions in the 2013-2014 school year.

Students in Guerilla Curating were involved in installing the exhibitions at Public Space One, Legion Arts, and the screening program.

More information: exuberantpolitics.art.uiowa.edu


Adam Burke, John Engelbrecht, Sarah Kanouse, Jason Livingston, Kalmia Strong, and Charlie Williams, “Exuberant Politics,” 2013-2014

Iowa Neo-Mountaineers

INM Logo

For over 50 years the Iowa Mountaineers was the largest university mountaineering club in the world. Between 1940 and 1996, more than 70,000 members scaled over 1300 peaks in 11 states and 17 countries. Yet much of Iowa’s most challenging terrain remains unexplored.

A small group of walking enthusiasts formed in Iowa City to correct this oversight. Calling ourselves the Iowa Neo-Mountaineers, we are dedicated to expeditions that remain absurdly local and low relief. If you are up to the challenge of negotiating access to that privately-owned hilltop blanketed in corn, join us, the Iowa Neo-Mountaineers!

Of the fifty states, Iowa has the highest percentage of land in agricultural production. With 98% of its 36 million acres privately owned, Iowa, not surprisingly, ranks 48th in the nation in the percent of land in public ownership. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island have less public acreage, and Iowa is over ten times their size!

Join us as we resurrect the adventurous spirit of the Iowa Mountaineers for an era of climate change, economic crisis, overwork, privatization, and unemployment. Stay close to home, save on gas, avoid the lines, and scale the “seven summits” of Johnson County!

Supplemental oxygen not required.


Sarah Kanouse and Nicholas Brown, initiators, “Iowa Neo-Mountaineers,” walking club exploring Iowa geography through curated series of group events, 2010-2011

Urban, Rural, Wild

The exhibition “Urban, Rural, Wild” presented work by eight artists addressing the complex historical and contemporary relationship between metropolitan Chicago and downstate Illinois. The state’s flat and fertile expanse of prairie offered a bounty of resources for nineteenth-century urban development and presented few physical obstacles to immense twentieth-century sprawl. Today, Chicago stands in apparent opposition to its surroundings, a “Third Coast” whose deep blue color on electoral maps is conspicuously surrounded by a sea of red. City officials and developers salivate over latte liberals, high-tech workers, and urban entrepreneurs who seem more at home in any coastal city than anywhere south of I-80. Indeed, contemporary, global Chicago may well be linked more closely to London, Mumbai, and Mexico City than to Loda, Makanda, or Farmer City. Nevertheless, artifacts of corn remain amid the skyscrapers, brick bungalows, and three-flats: a vast network of semi-decayed rail lines; towering, concrete grain elevators; and the computerized abstractions of crops and livestock at the Chicago Board of Trade. “Urban, Rural, Wild” presented just a few preliminary investigations into the interplay of culture and nature in our region and seeks to generate broader and more sustained consideration of the environmental and social consequences of the country/city dialectic in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. For more information, visit the Urban, Rural, Wild website.

Nance Klehm, "Collection Suit/Dispersal Suits," 2005
Nance Klehm, “Collection Suit/Dispersal Suits,” 2005


Sarah Kanouse and Nicholas Brown, curators, “Urban, Rural, Wild,” September 9 – October 22, 2005, I space Gallery, Chicago