»Louisiana: A Planetary Reactor« River Journey Reflection 11/2019 by Benjamin Steininger

» Night is falling on Plaquemine Island, a couple of miles south of Baton Rouge in the middle of the Mississippi River. Our boats are cleaned, tents are set, we are getting a fire going, and I am happy to be here. At the same time, the night before I was still in some kind of shock. The plan to learn more about the Exxon Refinery at Baton Rouge, almost led to my arrest. «

In this Anthropocene River Journey reflection, Benjamin Steininger, considers how processes at both scales underpinned the false promises heralded by the petrochemical age and sustain the power the petrostate continues to wield in the region.

The Anthropocene River Campus seminar “Commodity Flows” at Tulane University at New Orleans immersed participants within a dense landscape of actual and historical commodity flows associated with the Mississippi Basin. In this second reflection, Benjamin Steininger recounts how performative intervention, the mysterious “Bureau of Commodity Flows,” and engagement with local activists served as methods for disentangling the logistical complexity that helps to obscure the operations of these flows.

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