Fracturing a Nation: A WSW artist book

It still remains unclear to me as to why this book caught my eye, but nonetheless, it did. “4 3 2 CRY” is an artist book which exposes the effects of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. “4 3 2 CRY” was written by Kathy T. Hettinga in 2014. Natural gas fracking is a plague upon the families, land, air and water of the United States. The book is a meditation on the personal loss experienced by Hettinga as well as an outpouring of sorrow for communities transformed by drilling operations. The book on a whole discusses environmental degradation within the United States.

Image of book cover taken from WSW website, resembles a truck placard with a diamond formation with smaller inner diamonds colored blue, red, and yellow, paired with numbers 4, 3, 2.

My eyes were immediately drawn to this book on the Women’s Studio Workshop because of the colorufl placards on the thumbnail image. I live in a highly agricultural area and I am surrounded by farms. One day while driving home, I was at an intersection with an 18 wheeler and I wondered what the placards meant…fast forward me down the rabbit hole of Google and I discovered the 6 main components of the HAZMAT signage utilized by the DOT within the United States. All this is a very long winded way of me saying I believe my intrigue was peaked when I saw the “4 3 2 CRY” thumbnaik image. HAZMAT signs utilize various symbols to communicate the contents of trucks and to see this used on the cover a book….I just had to click to see what it was.

Individual to me, I understood what the placards meant! Even though I knew what the placards meant, what does that mean for what I would find in the book? What does “CRY” mean in relation to the placards? I just had to know…so I clicked on it and even proceeded to view the PDF available for the book.

Image pulled from WSW website PDF provided for the book. Pages pair images with text and deliver facts regarding health hazards and faults of big energy companies.

In terms of written content, this book is almost a scrapbook or collage of information regarding the subject matter, and I think that is one of the best possible ways the artist could have presented this material. This is a subject many companies and agencies have tried to stifle and silence, so there is this entire untapped spring of facts just waiting to burst free-and this artist did that! This book makes very personal this world of fracking which is all too personal to the artist themselves.

Works Cited

Hettinga, Kathy T. “4 3 2 Cry.” Women’s Studio Workshop, 19 Jan. 2018, https://wsworkshop.org/collection/4-3-2-cry/.

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