What the Frack?

For several years now I have designed self-initiated posters to bring awareness to environmental and social concerns that are important to me. I was curious to know more about fracking, as this process is becoming more prolific, particularly in Pennsylvania where I grew up, and where most of my family still resides. I was alarmed when I saw the film “GasLand,” and wanted to bring attention to this potentially hazardous gas drilling process.

From a design standpoint what is interesting about this series is that I used wood type to create the logotype “What the Frack,” and printed that via letterpress to achieve an eroded and distressed look. I then scanned this image into the computer where it was further manipulated and combined with digitally-created images. I was excited to use both the analog and digital methods in the same piece to achieve the desired results.

TItle: What the Frack?
Designer: Alyssa Lang
Category: Professional

Previously, I would do a silk-screen print run of the poster I designed, typically in an edition of 200. Depending on the success or demand of the poster, I may distribute all of the posters, or I may have a large stack of them still in storage. These posters here are printed digitally and on-demand so only the number of posters that are desired or needed are ever printed.

The project informs the public that hydraulic fracturing is a wide-spread process, and yet we do not know the possible harmful environmental effects of this process. Until more studies and research can be completed on the environmental impacts of fracking, the poster asks residents in these communities to urge their local and state officials to take a stand against drilling in their community.

The posters are printed on-demand, so it saves resources with no waste: only what is needed is printed.

The poster illuminates what “fracking” is and encourages people to contact their local and state officials to take a stand against drilling in their communities.
When I saw the film “GasLand,” this process of extracting gas from inside the earth intrigued me, which until then, was not on the radar of the media. I was also alarmed by the destruction of towns I had visited, where friends lived, and not all that far from where I grew up. I saw flames spewing from drinking water faucets. Convoys of trucks dragged in chemicals, water, and who knows what else, to pump into the ground and to use to get the fossil fuel out of the hard shale. It was a mess, and it was happening all over the country. People were reporting problems and were silenced by their local and state officials, including state environmental offices. Something needed to change.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of drilling down deep into the earth, and then horizontally, in order to reach natural gas-rich deposits. Millions of gallons of water and chemicals are then pumped into the ground to coax the gas out of shale deposits. There are upwards of 596 chemicals in this solution, some are known to be cancer-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Trouble arises when the fracking fluid leaks into drinking water aquifers and wells. Residents in fracking areas have reported problems with their drinking water such as bubbling and foul-smelling tap water, as well as nausea and other illnesses from drinking the water. Some residents suspected the gas wells were to blame for the contamination and were able to ignite their water as it ran from the tap.

In 2005, the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act and allowed drilling companies to keep secret their proprietary chemicals used in the process. The exact cocktail of chemicals comprising the fracking solution is not known, but scientists have been able to determine that VOCs such as benzene, toluene, and xylene are present.

Until more studies and research can be completed on the long-term and possibly far-reaching environmental impacts of fracking, my posters ask residents to urge their local and state officials to take a stand against drilling in your community. What’s more, even in towns and states where there is not active hydraulic fracturing, we can all be impacted via the interconnectedness of our natural water supply systems. It is those extended consequences, that ones we aren’t even thinking of now, that may have the most devastating and wide-spread impact, if more research isn’t done on this process.


Posted in 2013 Winners.

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