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Ground Water and Flood Lines

Artworks for Parched Exhibition


Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest is an exhibition curated by Julie Comnick and originally envisioned for the Coconino Center for the Arts. This exhibition explores the complexities of water in the context of climate change and increasing demands on water. Nine regional artists participated in a comprehensive education program led by scientists, managers, and environmental advocates and spent a year creating original art pieces that are unified into one exhibit. Parched reflects the conflicting demands on water for agriculture, recreation, households and nature. Parched highlights how social and cultural inequities are manifested through current water policies and practices. 

Explore a digital version of the Parched Exhibition

Watch the Parched Documentary Film

For this show, I created two artworks: Ground Water and Flood Lines. At its core my artwork focuses on the way in which the Earth’s environment and inhabitants are shaped by human consumption. Perhaps few words are better equipped to describe our current relationship with water than “consumption.” Water is regulated, moved, wasted, cleaned, polluted, and distributed according to the appetites and histories of consumption in ways that are incompatible with changing climatic conditions and social realities. The works I created for the Parched exhibition explore this idea from different points of view. 


Ground Water imagines a future in which the environmental reality of water catches up with our antiquated and short-sighted attitudes, habits, and laws. Beyond illustrating a new water reality, Ground Water invites contemplation and challenges viewers to alter our troubling ecological trajectory while evoking eternal life, futility, kitsch, disappointment, and promise.

Flood Lines, is distributed around the gallery as a spatial intervention and is analytic in nature. In the United States, the quantity of water on large scales is measured in acre-feet—the amount of water needed to fill an acre of land, one foot deep. This nearly unimaginable volume of water consists of 325,851 gallons and is central to the management of water at the national, state, municipal, and corporate level.

Flood Lines is a visualization which asks viewers to imagine that the whole volume of the main gallery at the Coconino Center for the Arts is filled with one-hundred dollars’ worth of water purchased at different rates. How much (or little) water can you purchase for $100 if it is delivered to your rural property by truck? How does that amount compare to purchasing water for industrial or agricultural use from the Central Arizona Project (C.A.P.)? How much for golf courses or universities? Embedded in these comparisons are legacies of water distribution systems permeated by inequality, racism, technology, greed, and environmental ignorance.

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