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Keri Pickett, Jason Takahashi, and Charlie Thayer,
Against the Grain

Against the Grain refers to how the train once symbolized exploration, migration, recreation, and transportation of energy and food. Now, coal and grain cargo is being replaced by highly explosive fracked-oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota turning the symbol of freedom into a rolling ‘bomb-train’. Award-winning filmmaker and photographer Keri Pickett teams up with Anishinaabe environmental activist Charlie Thayer and projection artist Jason Takahashi from the band “Papadosio”.

The projection’s setting, along the banks of the Mississippi River, reminds participants of the past role of the river in creating the state’s wealth, and brings awareness of how the river and our 10,000 lakes are evolving into our most valued resource. By combining projected moving images of oil transport and water with locally-created street art, we aim to deliver a powerful message for the love of water.

This project is an edgy and provocative experimental projection project focusing on how Minnesota’s oil transport by rail is the new emblem for extreme energy extraction.

Keri Pickett is an award winning filmmaker, photographer and artist. Her films and long term photography projects document those who seek to right a wrong. Her award-winning documentary feature The Fabulous Ice Age (2013) is now streaming on Netflix, sub-titled into ten languages. Her current feature documentary film First Daughter and the Black Snake focuses on environmental justice and environmentalist Winona LaDuke as her Native American community fights a new Enbridge pipeline.

Jason Takahashi is a multimedia producer, performer and artist. In 2009, he produced his first event titled ‘Earth Night’ in an effort to catalyze global consciousness which has slowly grown from a small experiment to a philanthropically-centered event drawing upwards of 3,000 people in multiple cities around the country.

Charlie Thayer is a 2014 Bush Fellow, 2013 CCLI Fellow with Intermedia Arts and co-founder of the Homegrown Collective, a group of Twin Cities artists and organizers dedicated to utilizing art as a catalyst for environmental and social justice issues.

Team Credits:

Owintino Hepi Horne Jr.
Juanita Rosario Vargas
Luke Paul Espinosa
Anna Espinosa
Paulo Espinosa
Cheyenne Devlin
Graci Horne


View more photos from Against the Grain on the Northern Spark Flickr here!


Presented by

Supported by


Chicago Mall Chicago Ave & S Second Street


9 pm—5:26 am


Keri Pickett
(works) Minneapolis
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Jason Takahashi
(works) Denver
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Charlie Thayer
(works) Minneapolis