Across the country, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and poor white communities living near refineries, pipelines, fracking sites, and other polluting infrastructure experience disproportionate rates of asthma, rare cancers, and other terminal illness. In the western United States, wildfires cover communities in toxic smoke and ravage the more-than-human world, destroying homes and habitats. Forced to live in unlivable conditions, humans and other species are cast as the living dead.
With We Refuse to Die, the living dead speak back.
Incorporating visual art produced for both museum and outdoor exhibition, public rituals, gatherings within and across communities, and artistic visuals for performances, public hearings, and protest, this multi-year, multi-city project pushes back against the dominant representation of so-called “sacrifice zones” as sites of powerlessness and victimization.
In coalition with communities on the frontlines of climate and environmental justice struggles, We Refuse to Die forges new solidarities—across generations, species, and geographies, metabolizing grief into collective strength and community power.
We Refuse to Die launches with a multimedia installation at the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as toxic tours, community rituals and other public events in Clairton, Braddock, East Palestine, and Pittsburgh.
This installation is part of Unsettling Matter, Gaining Ground, an exhibition co-organized by Theodossis Issaias and Ala Tannir at the Carnegie’s Heinz Architectural Center, open from August 19, 2023 to January 7, 2024.