What is your Big Idea for Philadelphia?
The Estuary Project: Imagining the Future of the Delaware River
TOXI•CITY, ESTUARY, and CHEMICAL MAP are three digital works that imagine the industrial port region of the Delaware River and around the industries along its tributaries in the age of climate change. The works address how industrial uses of the river, notably those of the energy industries and transportation industries, become inscribed in a visual language that ranges from geological maps to flood markers. They explore how the meanings of familiar markers change when ideas surrounding the water evolve. For example, what happens when the water is seen as a force washing salt and toxic elements inward toward the cities of the Delaware rather than a force washing toxins away. Cinematography from kayaking and walking the Delaware estuary was complemented by extensive research into environmental histories and land use. Results of this work include the film Toxi•City, which is a data-base fiction film imagining life in a future flooded landscape, and Estuary, which is an artist book compiling my observations kayaking and walking the Delaware estuary and comparing it to the Thames estuary and English channel. A third product is an interactive Website, entitled Chemical Map, which pinpoints hundreds of active petro-chemical sites and brownfields in potential flood zones of the Delaware estuary. The full resource can be found at http://unknownterritories.org/estuary. The multimedia project is currently on view at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia http://sensingchange.chemheritage.org/sensing-change/art/estuarytoxi-city
Installation artist, visual researcher, filmmaker, Roderick Coover's most recent works cross deserts of the US southwest, shorelines beneath the Cliffs of Dover, volcanos of Chile, and industrial brown-fields of the Delaware estuary. He collaborates with writers, musicians, performers and designers to make projects about spatial practices, storytelling and the inventions of cultures. Based in Philadelphia since 2004, he is director of the Graduate Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University and co-founder of its new Certificate Program in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Practice. His local work has included commissions with the Museums of the American Philosophical Society at Independence Hall and the Chemical Heritage Foundations and local screenings/installations at venues such as Philadelphia International Film Festival, Esther Klein, Nexus, Crane Icebox, Painted Bride, Rowan.