The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn

Joelle Dietrick, The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn
The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn, installation view, York, AL, 2006

During May 2006 in the city center of York, Alabama, Owen Mundy and Joelle Dietrick borrowed lamps from the residents and installed them in an abandoned grocery store. Each lamp was set to turn on every night, and because of the inexactitude of the timers chosen, did so in an organic fashion, one by one, reflecting not only the participants in the community, but also the history of Alabama's social movements. In an area where a nearby hazardous waste landfill caused the water to be undrinkable1, the artists and the community collectively revived the vacant commercial space, removing roomfuls of damaged post-Katrina FEMA water boxes and transforming the downtown with the lamps, pulsing at their own pace, human in the imperfections and variety, and more powerful as a collection.

This project was completed during a residency at The Coleman Center for Arts and Culture in York, Alabama.

  1. Davidson, Curt. Emelle, Alabama: Home Of The Nation's Largest Hazardous Waste Landfill. 2000.
dialogue, community, Alabama, toxic waste, Hurricane Katrina
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