4 Field Colloquium: Methlabs, Alchemy and the Matter of Life
Semi-rural Jefferson County, Missouri has had one of the highest number of methlab busts in the United States for over a decade. Hundreds of rogue chemists risk volatile reactions to manufacture speed, an alternative commodity and an elixir that steps up the production of "fast subjects." The entwined forces of topography, geographic location, uneven development, labor market, local resources (agricultural and mass consumer), Big Pharma lobbies, and law enforcement have contributed to this striking statistic. But methlabs, meth cooks and meth users are more than the conjunction of these material conditions. Cooks, users and labs actively participate in an alchemical mattering, where everyday commodities, consumer-producer bodies, neurochemical activity and DIY sensibilities recombine in a bio-chemical cottage industry.