We Refuse to Die launched last fall with toxic tours, community rituals and other public events in Clairton, Braddock, East Palestine, and Pittsburgh, as well as a new multimedia installation produced for Unsettling Matter, Gaining Ground, an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, which closed on January 7th.
Featuring works from the Carnegie Museum’s collection as well as new projects by Cooking Sections, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Eliza Evans, Tony Buba, and other contemporary artists, Unsettling Matter, Gaining Ground explored "the complex stories of how fossil fuel economies have been produced and upheld, whom they have excluded and left vulnerable, and how they have shaped and disrupted cities, communities, and ecologies."
Not An Alternative's multimedia nstallation introduced the museum's visitors to the campaign, inviting visitors to see from the perspective of the Externalities: humans and nonhumans who, left to fend for themselves in the sacrifice zones of industrial capitalism, are treated as little more than the “living dead.”
The installation featured a crowd of hand carved monuments to the “living dead” facing a large video projection depicting carvings installed on industrial fencelines in Texas, Louisiana, and Appalachia.
The opposite wall featured another video depicting the ceremonial planting of an Externality monument by community members wearing masks cast from the carvings. The performers are family members who hail from the heavily polluted low-income Latinx neighborhoods alongside Houston’s petrochemical corridor.
Reviewing the exhibition for the Pittsburgh City Paper, Amanda Waltz describes We Refuse to Die as the “most striking and horrific” installation in the exhibition. She writes:
“We Refuse to Die carries, on its own, the overall message of Unsettling Matter, Gaining Ground — even as industrial greed remains an overwhelming global issue, contributing to everything from the collapse of communities to climate change, we cannot afford to be passive observers of the destruction.”