Curated by Amanda Eicher, Rosie Branson Gill, and Valerie Imus
Many thanks to Robert Arnold, the CCA Department of Ceramics and Nathan Lynch, the Exploratorium, and of course St. George Spirits for their support of the art installations at OPENwater, with special thanks to Lance Winters, Andi Jesseman, Luis Cruz, and Enrique Castillejo.
Artist Works: Performances and Installations
Sita Bhaumik, I smell something fishy, 2010
Believing that scent carries a cultural weight that belies its invisibility, Sita Bhaumik uses spices, sights, tastes, and smells to evoke memory and the impermanence of identity and place.
Sita was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles by Bengali and Japanese-Colombian parents. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com.
Jen Boyd, Sound Environment for OPENwater, 2010
A sound artist living in Oakland, Jen Boyd records sounds in her environment and then arranges them into layered soundscapes. In these pieces, some sounds unfold naturally while others are processed. In her work for OPENwater, she collaborated with Moira Burke of Agricola Farms to record farm sounds onsite and then combined them with sound sources and treatments from her own repertoire during the OPENwater event to paint a vivid sonic picture of a site that is intimately involved with California water activism as well as the food consumed at OPENwater. www.jenboyd.org
Mark Dolmont, Sound Environment for OPENwater, 2010
Originally from Nova Scotia, Mark Dolmont has pursued sound for love and career around the globe. Approaching OPENwater both as a musician and a sound engineer, he combined field recordings and sound design to create an enveloping sonic space marked by surreal sonic effects and natural sounds of Northern California. His work for OPENwater is available in a limited CD edition; he may be contacted at email@example.com.
Matt Ferguson, Sound Engineering for OPENwater, 2010
Matt Ferguson, a specialist at Meyer Sound with expertise in the Galileo sound system employed in OPENwater’s soundscape artworks, collaborated with the four sound artists to program and master live feeds in a dynamic conversation throughout the two days of OPENwater’s events at St George Spirits. His expertise and professionalism helped to realize highly complex sound architectures that interacted with the individuals and the site, creating a living sonic sculpture unique to the event.
James Goode, Sound Environment for OPENwater, 2010
A multimedia artist based in San Francisco, James Goode has created sound and music for gallery, museum, and private installations, as well as for dance, live performance, recorded media, and the internet. By employing non-traditional instruments and experimental approaches to composition, Goode challenges listeners’ expectations about what is music and how it should sound. For OPENwater, Goode recorded sounds of the OPENwater environment and engaged tools and gestures of the restaurant and kitchen to create a soundscape poised at the line between the familiar and the uncanny, wrapping participants and guests in the reconfigured sonic textures of their surroundings. www.jamesgoodesound.com
Hyphae Design Lab with Marisha Farnsworth and Jerome Waag,
Kitchen Water System, 2010
Oakland-based Hyphae Design Lab spearheaded the OPENwater plumbing system, which feeds and drains the handwashing and dishwashing stations for the restaurant, creating an onsite greywater pond. The system design refers to the paths of water diversion on the Mokelumne River for urban and agricultural uses. Brent Bucknum, Marisha Farnsworth and David Wilson collaborated on the Mokelumne River drawings installed as a part of the plumbing system. This system was made possible by the help of Freyja Bardell, David Wilson, Jesse Schlesinger, and Nick Robinson.
Jennifer Kimbell, 1000 Oceans, 2010
Jennifer Kimbell, a Los Angeles native, is finishing up her art studies at UC Berkeley. In her ceramic work, she is primarily interested in the process of wish-making and wish actualization in conjunction with communal prayer. Her ceramic project, 1000 Oceans, is inspired by the Japanese tradition of making one thousand origami cranes in exchange for one wish. Her wish is for oceanic peace.
Denise King, when the water turns red it means the salt is forming, 2008-2010
The brines in these tanks were collected from salt evaporation ponds in the southern San Francisco Bay. The colors of the ponds change as the salinity, or dissolved salt, increases. The color of a pond gives us a clue as to what organisms we may find living there. The color of the rosy brine is due to the presence of microorganisms called halophiles or “salt lovers”. These salt lovers include bacteria and archae. The water in this tank contains approximately 7 pounds of dissolved salts. The peach colored brine is due to the presence of a salt tolerant algae called Dunaliella, as well as other salt tolerant bacteria. The water in this tank contains approximately 3 pounds of dissolved salts. The greenish-yellow color in the third tank is due to the presence of algae and other microorganisms, which provide food for the lovely brine shrimp. The water in this tank contains approximately 1.8 pounds of dissolved salts.
Phytoplankton Bloom: Isochrysis, Nannochloropsis, Desmodesmus, Tetraselmis, 2010
These vessels are filled with living fresh and salt water phytoplankton. Please use the hand pump to aerate the algae. They like to stay suspended in the water column. The algae packs can also be handled, but please be gentle.
Denise King is a microbiologist, artist, and a Senior Exhibition Designer in the Life Sciences Department of the Exploratorium. Her work has also been featured at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Machine Project, Los Angeles, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Lauren Marsden, Bureau of Reclamation, 2010
Lauren Marsden’s art practice involves the use of staged ceremony and public ritual to address local issues around development, land use, and urban mythology. Using historical images, found text, performance, and costumes, she creates allegorical characters who point to marginal and stratified narratives in the landscape. She recently received an MFA degree in Social Practice at the California College of the Arts and lives in Oakland, California.
The Bureau of Reclamation is the second largest purveyor of wholesale water and hydroelectric power in the American West. In addition, this agency of the US Department of the Interior is responsible for the Central Valley Project, the canal which supplies much of the Central Valley’s agricultural water supply. Bureau of Reclamation projects cover much of the American West where urban and agricultural lands have been “reclaimed” from desert.
Travis McFlynn, Cracked Earth and OPENwater ceramics, 2010
Travis McFlynn is a sculpture major at California College of the Arts and has worked for sixteen years as an apprentice and craftsman in ceramics studios across the country. Travis runs two ceramic design firms out of his own West Oakland studio, working directly with his clients in a process that emphasizes collaboration and strives toward form with very specific function and meaning. He is also the catalyst behind Iron Triangle Wineries’ ceramic fermentation and storage vessels, some of which are in use here today at OPENwater as part of the Water Flight.
Leslie Terzian Markoff, OPENwater Textiles, 2010
Managing direction and founder of Tangle Blue textile design house Leslie Terzian Markoff has taught in the fashion design departments of CCA and AAU, and serves as a Weave Specialist and Trainer for corporate and private clients. She is currently producing her own retail line of handwoven and dyed products, and consulting with artists, manufacturers, and producers on bespoke projects such as the hats and aprons for OPENwater.
Jessica Niello, Delta Smelt: The Canary in the Coal Mine, 2010
Jessica is an Oakland-based painter, photographer, and maker of things. She is a regular contributor to Meatpaper and to the collections at Bar Tartine, Perish Trust, and Flour and Water. Organic forms and creatures of the sea are among her favorite subjects.
The Perish Trust, The Tank
The Perish Trust—Rod Hipskind & Kelly Ishikawa—diligently collect and curate antiques from the dead and dying industries; perusing basements, boxes and personal stashes for the odd, obsolete and unusual; hand picking artists from coast to coast to collaborate and showcasing it all in their gussied up little bunker at 728 Divisadero St, in San Francisco. The Perish Trust designed and created the resource area where you are standing.
Becky White, Soundscape for OPENwater, 2010
During the OPENwater event, Becky White mixed live her recorded sounds of local bay area watershed rivers, oceans and storms with sounds of the womb, melting glaciers, Arctic seas, varieties of pinnipeds and cetaceans, shorebird and pelagic bird species, human disturbances in the oceans and waterways and fish sounds, along with other surprises. A musician, conservation biologist, sound designer, and wilderness guide, White resides in San Francisco and has performed and created transformative music and multimedia events for the last ten years. For more information check www.beckywhitemusic.org.
David Wilson, Flotilla
Flotilla is a collaboration between David Wilson and Elias Reitz in the form of a sailing trip from the Oakland Inner Harbor to the Naval Base Lagoon. Hand-drawn maps lead visitors to launch and viewing points within walking distance of OPENwater. David Wilson is also a collaborator on Hyphae Design Labs’ Greywater System for OPENwater.
Sasha Wizansky with Lance Winters, Menus
Sasha Wizansky co-founded Meatpaper, a quarterly journal of art and ideas about meat, in 2007, and is now editor in chief and art director. She has variously been a graphic designer, bookbinder, illustrator, and sculptor, and is always an omnivore.
Sasha worked with OPENwater chefs and Lance Winters, owner of St. George Spirits, to design and hand-print the limited edition menus for OPENwater on St. George’s in-house letterpress.
Saturday Video Program
The Adventures of Junior Raindrop (excerpt), 1948, 1’36”
The Adventures of Junior Raindrop was produced by the Forest Service of the US Department of Agriculture as an educational film advocating the protection of watersheds. The animation was drawn by Rudolph “Rudy” Andreas Michael Wendelin (1910-2000), who is best known as the artist who created “Smokey Bear.” Key lines in the film include, “Junior’s getting dangerous. He’s getting tougher and bolder everyday. Now he’s a tough gangster. Heading for the big time, raging along, waging gang war. Robbing, destroying, killing.”
Cynthia Hooper, Jefferson’s Monuments, 2010, 7’48”
A recent legislative agreement to dismantle four controversial dams on California’s and Oregon’s mighty Klamath River has been described as the largest river restoration effort in all of U.S. history. These dams have straddled nearly one hundred years of protracted conflict over the abundant economic resources offered up by this historically bountiful waterway, and now the conflicts (along with the dams) appear to be heading for closure. This video memorializes these imperiled, unexpectedly grand, and undeniably problematic monuments in their dramatic Cascade Range environment. Cynthia Hooper has presented her video installations at the Venice Architectural Biennial; the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles; and inSite_05.
Kim Anno and Ricardo Rivera, Codornices, 2010, 5’44”
Codornices (quails in Spanish) Creek is part of a network of tributaries running out of the hills in Berkeley that has been modified to a great extent from the natural drainage patterns by the stormdrain network. Early maps depict the creek as disappearing into the marsh west of today’s San Pablo Avenue, but today the creek is channeled into the Bay, and supports a large trout population. Codornices was shot in Live Oak Park in the summer of 2010. Ricardo Rivera and Kim Anno are video artist collaborators, working on various aspects of water issues in the context of climate change.
Christina McPhee, OHLONA, 2010, 10’
OHLONA circles the north, east and southern margins of San Francisco Bay—from the Port of Oakland north to Antioch and Shelter Island in the Sacramento River Delta, then south to Alviso—the former port, now salt-marsh of San Jose, to the landfill of Palo Alto. The film’s name honors the Ohlone–one among the Native American tribal groups of the Bay. McPhee works at remote hi-tech landscape sites. Her work has shown at Documenta 12 (2007), Bucharest Biennial 3 (2008), Art Cologne OpenSpace (2008,2009), FIAC Paris (2010).
Courtesy of the artist and Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
Pipeline to the Clouds (excerpt) 1951, 2’20”
Pipeline to the Clouds depicts the hydrological cycle and was produced by General Electric.
Martin Machado, Two Months Salmon Fishing, AK, 2008, 4’50”
Martin Machado shot this video footage while working on a commercial fishing vessel in Alaska. The layered shots of the ocean horizon evoke a sense of many days spent looking over the water. Two Months Salmon Fishing, AK, is a part of Going to Sea, a series of multi-media works developed out of Machado’s experience working over extended periods of time on the ocean as part of a crew aboard offshore container ships, commercial fishing vessels, an oil spill cleanup ship, and while crewing boats for delivery, or rowing alone on the bay. Machado received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2007.
Christina McPhee, Tesserae White Cloud Medanos Turbines, 2010,
The Los Medanos Energy Center is a 568-megawatt combined cycle natural gas power plant owned by Calpine Corporation in Pittsburgh, on the Sacramento River Delta, across a slim slough from Brown’s Island Regional Shoreline, a reserve that is home to endangered plant species and waterbirds. The power plant sells power to California’s regional power pool and provides steam to USS-Posco Industries—a steel manufacturing plant that opened in 1910 and provided steel for the Bay Bridge.
Courtesy of the artist and Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
Kelli Yon, The Offering III, 2010, 3’4”
Kelli Yon is a photographer and video maker who conducts studio-based experiments and investigations into the properties of water, dry ice, and oil, guided by both a sense of wonder and an interest in the political and social issues at the confluence of these materials. Her work has been featured at venues including Haines Gallery and SF Camerawork in San Francisco, and Nicolai Fine Art in New York.
Martin Machado, Boat Delivery: Santa Cruz to San Francisco, CA,
Boat Delivery was shot on 16mm film while Machado was crewing a boat being delivered from Santa Cruz to San Francisco.
Cynthia Hooper, Exportadora de Sal, 2007, 7’37”
Exportadora de Sal examines the oddly mysterious and curiously appealing terrain of an enormous evaporative-based salt mine in Mexico. Seawater is circulated and gradually evaporated within an elaborate maze of vast ponds, while a gracefully orchestrated army of pumps, trucks, bulldozers and conveyor belts dutifully process the final product. The vibrantly tinted saline solutions, hillocks of flying foam, and perfunctorily performing pumps and machinery all labor to create a strangely magical landscape.
Kim Anno, Yosemite, 2010, 2’24”
Albert Bierstadt painted “Yosemite Valley” as a light-soaked spectacle of the sublime while on an expedition in 1866. Romantic landscape painters such as Bierstadt are at times accused of encouraging western expansionism, and thus the devastation of these remarkable places. Anno’s destruction of this image figures this site as potentially as vulnerable as paper and is reminiscent of the flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley to provide water to Bay Area urban areas. Kim Anno is an inter-disciplinary artist whose work has been featured in exhibitions at the Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts, New York; the Zaloren Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City; and the Museum of Modern Art in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. She is the Chair of Painting at the California College of the Arts.
Martin Machado, First Row to Alcatraz, 2007, 9’45”
First Row to Alcatraz was shot on 16mm film at one frame per second from a camera housed inside a small water-tight box on pontoons towed to Alcatraz Island in rough seas on a stormy day by Machado rowing a small boat. Through a porthole in the box, the camera captures an arduous journey onto the Bay thwarted by fierce winds and a rising current and an ultimate return to the harbor.
Stijn Schiffeleers and Michael Swaine, We Are All Together Alone in the Wilderness, 2010, 7’21”
We Are All Together Alone in the Wilderness documents another journey in a boat. This trip through the waterless wilderness of San Francisco pokes fun at the falsely romanticized dichotomy of wilderness and human social existence—a position that helped to start the environmental movement, and continues to be addressed today. Schiffeleers and Swaine have exhibited internationally as individual artists and as part of the collective Future Farmers.
Sunday Video Program
San Francisco-based artist and director of 667Shotwell, Chris Sollars’ work revolves around the reclamation and subversion of public space through urban interventions, the results of which are integrated into mixed media video installations. Recent awards include a Eureka Fellowship Award, a San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Grant, and a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts. Sollars in 2008 completed C RED BLUE J which screened at SFMOMA on Election Day and was included in CREATIVE TIME’s Democracy in America at the Park Armory. Sollars was the video artist for last year’s OPENfuture: Spinning Marinetti’s Wheels at SFMOMA.
For OPENwater, Sollars has compiled new videos of historical Bay Area water to correspond with the Chinook Salmon dinner.