Artifact

Powell Station Commemorative

  • December 18, 2017

This article includes both Inbound and Outbound information about this image.

Powell Station Commemorative (print)

Inbound Artist: Ninkow Ouskan, date unknown

Outbound Artist : M Kelley, 2012

Inbound Significance

This gorgeous commemorative poster, created by master maker Ninkow Ouskan, celebrates the opening of Powell Station, a crossroads stop for Rail travel, and the Ranger Station headquarters for the Flat Region.

The image is flanked by the tumultuous waves  and rapids of the Kkaxe River; in a tradition common to Birdfolk artisans at the time, the more realistic representation is matched by the repetition of stylistic motif showcasing the primary elements: water, and the door shape.

The central image depicts a sunscorched crow skull whose beak has been fashioned into the calligraphic nib of a pen. The pen drips towards a scroll whose grid coordinates suggest a map, holding up a keyhole symbolizing the unlocking of the Flat Region to progressive expansion and trade.

Prior to the founding of Powell Station, dominant trade routes extended to the west side of the Kkaxe River Canyon, through the Flat Quarter. Travel to the North was hampered by the collapsed canyon of The Sentinels and The Left: caravans had to detour west around to narrower, crossable areas, requiring extra provisions and stamina to make it through the cruel Dust Passage. Trade did extend northwards through the Canyon, assisted by Aniza Kkaxe Flock guides, but the process was difficult and hampered by the difficult terrain and dangerous portage, and Birdfolk presence at The City of The Fingers – the only major resupply – was tolerated at best. The Rail line at the time extended only along the relative safety of the Southern coast, where it could be somewhat defended by coast caravels, but Rail shipments were constantly under attack and sabotage by hostile Beanfolk, who – despite their defeat at The Oxbows and their withdrawal to the Green – still prevented trade or exploratory expansion Northeast of The Horn.

Despite these challenges, however, Birdfolk were intent to reconnect with the wisdom of Corvus, draw from the ancient empowerhouse facilities at the Caldera, and access the library of knowledge contained within. Without easier access to the North, these could never be sustainable goals. As construction on the Rail Line progressed, the added Birdfolk presence allowed the negotiation of a Grass border and the eventual Bean treaty. The decision to extend the Rail System northwards and establish Powell Station as a Rail stronghold allowed Birdfolk merchants to gain a foothold to the previously unreachable territory, and changed the face of the desert ever since.

Outbound Significance

3.5″ x 12″ Linotype print, 2012

 

Originally designed as concept art following the installation of The Inbound Lands, Abridged at the Brooklyn Art Library, Powell Station Commemorative received only limited proof printing after the block was finished in late 2012. The full edition was printed in early 2013 as the online game, The Inbound Lands, Unabridged, was being developed, in order for the prints to be available as limited edition rewards following the release of the game to Alpha and Beta testers. If players solved a time-based puzzle, Outbound geographic coordinates were provided; visiting the location allowed the player to answer questions in order to receive a copy of the print edition poster.

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