In an ongoing project series, I am exploring physical spaces around water, unpacking ideas around the interface of human boundaries and infrastructure with the natural boundaries and dynamic equilibrium that water seeks. Rivers and streams are constantly changing course, redistributing energy and carving new paths. In a parallel way, dance movement pathways are also not fixed, with some slight variations every time a choreographic phrase is performed. Just as maps of abandoned channels and meandering paths can be an artistic visual story of the ever-changing river, I seek to capture the movement of human bodies along with the dynamism of water bodies. I make dance drawings, with movement pathways recorded on a medium such as canvas or paper on the floor in paint, graphite, or charcoal. I create choreographic works using stream dynamics and river morphology as a point of departure, then perform them, creating the drawing as an artifact of the dance.
In 1890, celebrated explorer John Wesley Powell proposed that the new western state borders be defined by watershed boundaries, rather than the straight lines we now know. Today, the continued disconnect between dynamic hydrological systems and the fixed, inflexible human structures and systems applied to them grows more and more troubling in the face of global environmental change. We continue to build in a way that doesn’t allow for change, with sea walls, flood walls, and gray stormwater infrastructure being the focus of our planning and investment, rather than the fluid, adaptive, resilient systems we need.
These explorations ultimately aim to catalyze and encourage a view of water and human systems that allows for dynamism, flexibility, agility, and resilience – and to visualize and engage water in a way that encourages a shift away from static, straight-edged approaches.
More coming soon!