/25 Altered landscape

Daniel Shea

Blisner, IL

Blisner provides an account of what happened in and what remains of a single Rust Belt town during the process of deindustrialization. The first book, Blisner, Ill. begins with an early history of the discovery of bituminous coal in Southern Illinois, and moves through the last century of mine disasters and factory closures, ending with the fallout of deindustrialization. Blisner represents a narrative that is both distantly dystopic and familiar to discourses on American industry and Main Street. The Blisner that exists today provides the surface that renders these histories photographically possible. The follow-up project, Blisner, IL, serves as a pseudo-sequel to Blisner, Ill., the change in post-code abbreviations significant in their respective points on the chronology of the town. This new work frames its predecessor, Blisner, Ill., as a historical document from which to draw information at the present day site. It’s main focus is that of mid-sized cities in Southern Illinois and how they attempt to maintain the veneer of their once industrially-prosperous moment. The book establishes themes found in the regional picture book formula of understanding place through its history, industry and culture, often synonymous terms.