James Welling (American, b. 1951)
Cornfield, Facing East, Northeast, NY (2001)
Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10”
Gift of the Artist, James Welling, in honor of his mother, Harriett Brewer, a UConn graduate, class of 1945, 2006.26.6
Corn as Solid Fuel
Corn is now a genetically engineered miracle crop grown after heavy doses of fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. Fossil fuels are used at every step. This technology is a far cry from the origin of Zea mays as a tropical grain native to central America, and brought to upstate New York to sustain its indigenous peoples. Euro-colonial setters learned corn from the Natives, planting it in tillage rows, instead of mounded hills. In the Anthropocene, cheap corn led to the enormous rise in the global meat consumption, which depends on enormous feedlots and meat factories.