In 1998, the landscape photographer Richard Misrach roamed Louisiana to document a legacy of its petrochemical industry. In a series of stark photographs, he captured how the infrastructure of oil, gas, and chemical companies dominates the environment, running through waterways and open spaces and looming over neighborhoods. The photos seen here, along with others by Misrach, formed the basis of a 2012 book, Petrochemical America, in which the landscape architect Kate Orff also mapped the environmental damage wrought by the industry. Misrach’s photos serve as a reminder of how widely the petrochemical business encroaches, well beyond the sites where oil and gas are pulled from the earth.
Every January, up to 150,000 people swarm the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where they mainly see salesmen and models touting slick gadgets under bright lights. Most visitors miss the surprises that can be found in a plain corner called the “International Gateway,” where manufacturers from Asia display unglamorous components and offbeat items.