We All Live Downwind

Shanna Merola

All images by and courtesy the artist.

The images in We All Live Downwind are culled from daily headlines – inspired by both global and grassroots struggles against the forces of privatization in the face of disaster capitalism. In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes about the free market driven exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries saying “the original disaster—the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane — puts the entire population into a state of collective shock”. And that “shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect”. The scenes in We All Live Downwind, have been carved out of dystopian landscapes in the aftermath of that shock.

Untitled # 1 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.

Untitled # 1 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


On the surface, rubble hints at layers of oil and shale, cracked and bubbling from the earth below. Rising from another mound, rows of empty mobile homes bake beneath the summer sun. The bust of small towns left dry in the aftermath of supply and demand. In this place, only fragments of people remain, their mechanical gestures left tending to the chaos on auto. Reduced to survival, their struggle against an increasingly hostile environment goes unnoticed. Beyond the upheaval of production a bending highway promises never ending expansion - and that low rumble you hear to the west is getting louder.

Untitled # 2 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 2 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 3 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 3 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 4 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 4 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 5 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 5 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 6 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 6 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 7 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 7 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2016, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.


Untitled # 8 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print

Untitled # 8 from the series “We All Live Downwind” 2015, Archival Inkjet Pigment Print.



Shanna Merola is a lens based media artist who lives and works in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to her studio practice she is a documentary photographer for grassroots social justice organizations. Working for civil rights attorneys she documents first amendment activity during protests and facilitates workshops on best practices during police encounters. Her collages and constructed landscapes are informed by these rallies - from direct actions against fracking companies to the privatization of water both globally and locally. She is currently working on a collaborative production of Know Your Rights Theatre, inspired by the politically radical puppet troupes of the 1960’s.