FLOW: Can You See the River?
Conceived by artist Mary Miss, FLOW: Can You See the River? is a city-wide public art project that reveals how ordinary activities are connected to the history, ecology, origin and potential of the White River water system.
The project appears along a six-mile stretch of the river, with stopping points located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, and along the Central Canal at Butler University and continuing to White River State Park downtown. Mirror markers and oversized red map pins identify important features of the watershed, including wetlands, floodplains, combined sewer outfalls and pollution. In 100 Acres, red tree bands mark the level of what was once referred to as a 100-year flood, or what hydrologists consider a flood that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any year.
FLOW: Can You See the River? was commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, with concurrent activities facilitated by EcoArts Connections and more than 20 leading Indianapolis arts, science, environment, and municipal organizations and agencies. A series of activities and easily accessible web- and phone-based technologies allow you to experience how water affects your everyday life.
Since the late 1960s, New York-based artist Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design and installation art. A pioneer of environmental art, Miss creates major temporary and permanent outdoor art projects that are thoughtfully integrated into public spaces.
FLOW: Can You See the River? is part of Miss’s wider initiative City as Living Laboratory: Sustainability Made Tangible Through the Arts, whose goal is to foster collaborations within cities to make sustainability an issue that is personal, visceral, and actionable. For this and other projects, Miss has worked closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators. Her past projects include a proposal to create a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero; marking the predicted flood level in Boulder, Colorado; revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City; and turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space.
Mary Miss has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1986); the Medal of Honor, American Institute of Architects (1990); she has an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Washington University (2000).
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.