Ephemeral Channels

Ephemeral Channels

Ephemeral Channels 

Interactive Video Installation 
Wind data, Depth Camera Interactivity, custom software
11.5’ x 7’ (as depicted)

“The stream is the flowing water, which is ephemeral or transitory. The channel is the geomorphic feature that conveys ephemeral flow.”

Hadley, R.F. (1968). Ephemeral streams . In: Geomorphology. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-31060-6_108

Erosion and deposition are an ongoing cycle that is part of the dynamic world we live in. The landscapes in New Mexico we hold dear tell this story of dramatic changes of erosion on mesas and depositions in canyons and arroyos from climate change throughout history.. We live in houses built on the land and we are part of the story of how it has evolved and what the future holds. Our fates are linked as we cut through mountains to build roads, drill deep into the landscape to extract oil and gas, and construct housing where water resources are fragile. The landscape is permanently altered. 

Ephemeral Channels tells this story through a computer vision based interactive installation. This piece incorporates audience movement through the gallery space to cut into the land, creating mesas that eventually fill with deposition. Rivulets drive rivers into the shifting landscape to represent the constant change and transformation going on around us. The iridescent colors are inspired by the interaction of New Mexico light and the ever changing landscape. Wind is one of the contributing factors of erosion. In this piece, wind data directly controls the depth of arroyos and canyons that viewers leave as they interact with the piece.        

The geological history of New Mexico shows dramatic changes in the landscape directly linked to the movement from the warmer and wetter Pleistocene epoch to the warmer and drier Holocene epoch – between 12,00 years ago to current times.. We find ourselves looking to even warmer conditions as we move further into the effects of climate change and we are now experiencing a direct impact on our local communities. This work responds to the pressing issues we have before us and asks us how our fates are linked and what is our impact on the changing world around us. We are spellbound by the beauty and raw nature that the New Mexico landscape offers, but we are also linked to the forces that alter and transform our surroundings. How do we act and interact rather than staring into the abyss? Can we transform our world through playful interaction with serious issues?

Inspired by the report – 

Climate Change in New Mexico over the 50 years: Impacts on Water Resources. 


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