Godfrey Reggio, when he gave the keynote lecture for the Gila River Festival/Gila Time-lapse Film Festival a couple of years ago (first Time-lapse film festival in North America!), talked about what a keynote is, namely the musical note that binds a piece of music together. Perhaps in the same manner, a work of art can be that keynote, that pulls together a sense of place and distills it so it may be apprehended by an observer if not in its totality of resolution and complexity, yet in a manner that at least points the way to these deep passes, shaded gullies, minnows, spiders, muck, and the rocks between your toes that is an experience of the Gila River.
We have been working some time on this, the planning stretching back a couple of years. In its current iteration, River Voice Time consists of 2 parts:
a claycrete Oja vessel, that contains projections on mist, fragrant distillations of river herbs and clay, and the stories of *you* our friends who have taken on the voice of the river, to embody it and give it concrete power that is human will;
and a CNC cut table with a projected history of the geographic quadrant that eventually contains the Gila river watershed region going back 4 Billions years in time.
Projecting onto mist, with river perfumes to embed the experience in memory
Digging in the river to collect the clay really connected us to the land the river carves through. That slippery clay that slicks your tires on a dirt road after a rain is great building material.
Fabbing the claycreate Oja, with Kate Brown Mibreño clay activist and animator
We had been working and collaborating in our three corners of the country (NYC, Seattle and the Mimbres)- getting together for a couple of weeks in Santa Fe was absolutely key, and we thank SFAI for hosting us as part of their water rights residency.
Creating Olfactory experiences with master perfumer Stephen Dirkes
The other half of our installation is our terrain map table. I have been researching the manner in which to use a CNC machine, essentially a big router on a robot arm you can use to carve and cut pieces of wood, metal, and plastic. Suffice to say there are 15 different ways using 25 different 3d apps that can possibly do this. Finally I was able to get a cut at Make Santa Fe, with the fantastic help of Zane and Stefan at Make Santa Fe, Catherine at Extraordinary Structures, and Jeff Boyd, GIS specialist. (blog post to come as to my particular recipe for achieving our terrain map)
Cutting Topography of the Gila Watershed with übergeek and New Media guru Peter Bill
Finally, we had been working on content to project on the table, and Kate created our stunning animations to bring the history to life.
Kate Brown speed drafts and creates Calderesque animations.
This project had the help of many good people! The Hotsprings Ranch for hosting us, SFAI for sponsoring our residency, and The Gila Conservation Coalition for making this all happen, among many others. I would like to thank my Collaborators, Allyson Siwik, Kate Brown, and Stephen Dirkes for being so inspiring and awesome and such hard workers that they inspired this laggard to actually get some things done. The Gila is worth all of the hard work we put towards keeping it free, just as our spirits are free. However there are many deep interests in Grant Co and New Mexico that just want that water, and with our future of climate change, this fight to keep the wildness alive will not end in our lifetimes, nor those of our children.
River Voice Time will be open starting September 21st as part of the Gila River Festival
After that who knows?