Rodrigo Morales, Backyard, 2021 / Courtesy of the artist
Rodrigo Morales: 91 East
Jun 1 – Aug 11, 2024
GCAC / Grand Central Art Center
Santa Ana, USA

In the 1980s, a mere 234 warehouses dotted the landscape of the Inland Empire. Today, over 4,000 logistic centers have been implanted across the region in a rapid movement to bring commerce to the region. Once identified by its untouched land, the area has become enveloped by the sprawling network of warehouses that define the region’s skyline. As this part of Southern California quickly becomes the backbone of America’s road-based supply chain, it simultaneously introduces many repercussions to the daily lives of communities that call the Inland Empire home.

Through this consumption of land, the skies in the IE have become tainted with smog as diesel-fueled trucks crisscross the freeways, leaving a trail of pollution in their wake. According to a 2022 report from the American Lung Association, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties rank first and second for the worst ozone pollution in the United States. This toxic air quality seriously threatens public health, causing inflammation, shortness of breath, and damage to airways. In addition to health consequences, these logistics flow through the region contribute to clogged commuting paths along streets and freeways. These repercussions of industrialization disproportionately impact people of color, who make up more than 70% of the population in the Inland Empire.

91 East investigates the penetrative supply chain industry emanating from the Inland Empire. Through these visual investigations, Rodrigo seeks to capture the complexities of his evolving home – the beauty of a land marred by pollution and the resilience of a community shaped by the logistics industry.

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