I came across this series of photos by Mishak Henner this morning which not only made me reaffirm my ethical standards considering the consumption of animal products, but made me think more broadly about the impacts of the industrialized agriculture system. What sort of socio-political system creates these sorts of landscapes? Are they the same as those of urbanization, described by that of Lefebvre, Harvey, or Neil Smith? Henner himself explains that
“I think what the feedlots represent is a certain logic about how culture and society have evolved. On one level it’s absolutely terrifying, that this is what we’ve become. They’re not just feedlots. They’re how we are.”
We produce our landscapes. They are representations of our social processes. Henner’s discussion of his art, GIS images not impeded by Ag Gag laws, are a wonderful exemplification of the commoditization of nearly everything, from landscapes to living beings. Landscapes are transformed into production facilities with one motive, profit. And this is the problem of industrial capitalism in a nutshell. Is this how we want our reflections to be seen? What aesthetic does the American landscape portray?