Short Term Memory

An example of human desire to control environment is seen in how we manage water. I live five blocks from the Mississippi River, and have come to see it like a enormous brushstroke that the Army Corps of Engineers has tried to reign in with varying degrees of success over the last 200 years. The inspiration for this piece is the amazing selection of maps made by an Army Corp engineer in the 1940s, Howard Fisk. Based on aerial photography and soil samples, he determined the shifting courses of the river dating back 300 years. It is fascinating and awe-inspiring to see how rivers are great wiggling strokes of water, a line drawing or animation that shifts in real time, over centuries. “Short Term Memory” animates these different courses and embellishes them to create a beautiful twisting series of oxbows and meanders. This piece was an effort for me to attempt to conceptualize geographic time.