Media Ecology - Asian Carp Billboards

part of Reshaping the Shape: Embodiment, Ecology, and Culture of a Postnatural Fish with Sarah Lewison


All American Carp
Eat the River, Heal the River
All-American Carp

As abundant, nutritious, and delicious as Asian Carp are in the Mississippi watershed,hardly anyone eats them. They make up the vast majority of biomass in some waterways, pose a jumping haze and for this reason are consider an invasive pest.  They are vilified by conservationists and boaters alike, and yet still little is being done to make eco-logical use of this fish as a healthy and sustainable food source in a way that could help re-balance the riverine ecology of the Mississippi and its tributaries.

As part of our project Reshaping the Shape, Sarah Lewison and I designed a series of billboards that were in view along roadsides of southern Illinois promoting Bighead and Silver Asian Carp as under-utilized natural resources, superfoods, and as naturalized part of the Midwest, rather than a "alien invader" which is now so integrated in ecosystem that it can never practicably be eradicated.

Texts about the Reshaping the Shaping include -

“What on Earth”: Confluences in the planetary metabolism (AY)

The Possibility of All Species in an “All Species Parade” (AY)

Defensive Ecologies: Extracting Asian Carp from the Illinois River  (AY)

Of Forests, of Rivers, and of Meals (SL)

Imagining an Economy Based on Care (SL & AY)

SIU Exhibition page

Carp Convivals page

All Species Parade page

There is also an overview of Reshaping the Shape, of Deep Time Chicago's Field Station #4, and for the HKW project Mississippi: An Anthropocene River.


All American Carp

The "European Carp" - brought form Germany in the 1800's is just as well known as the "Common Carp" today. When will the "Asian Carp," which has become a permanent resident in the US, be recognized as something other than Asian, and actually American? This is a fundamental question for all species in an age of globalization. Here in Cairo, Illinois, where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet, this billboard helps us consider the confluence of histories and origins making up the planet today.