The Innumerable Anxieties – Leedy Voulkos Art Center
November 21, 2014
November 30, 2012

A Rain Dance While Swimming

Terschellings Island, Netherlands; Mulvane Art Museum, KS / 2014
“Like bending stones, the wringing clouds opened up to join in the rhythm and intention of the moment. At Waconda Springs (North Central Kansas) there is an ancient and sacred place that now flows at the bottom of Glen Elder Reservoir. We propose to swim and float in this place, directly above this geological and hydrological anomaly. We will look around, down and up, and share what we see. We will listen, and share what the water has to say.”
Pre-Historical North American Sea Basin Project: WACONDA

This video work was produced in collaboration with Kent Williams, and shown as a part of the exhibition “Drift and Drag: The Tides of Kansas”, and “Between the Tides Conference” and “Oerol Arts Festival” at Terschellings Island, Netherlands.

What is in a place, this former inland sea that is also present day Kansas? Through a multitude of perceptions we become aware. It's Genesis and Darwin selves, it's Terraform, it's Marine and otherwise.

Our primary subject is Waconda Spring (Mitchell County, Kansas), with secondary subjects of Island Number 06 (Sedgwick Country, Kansas) and Buck Creek Valley Watershed (Jefferson County, Kansas). All three locations are within the outer reaches of the former inland sea.

Waconda is a geological/hydrological anomaly, an artesian spring and aboriginal sacred site meaning “Spirit Water” or “Great Spirit Spring” in the Kanza language. It is also known as "Pahowa" and "Kitzawitzuk" in the Pawnee language, meaning "water on a bank". It became a health resort operated first by Dr. G. P. Abrahams and then Dr. Carlos Bingesser in the 19th and early 20th century. With the completion of the GlenElder Dam in 1968, the mineral spring and aboriginal sacred site disappeared beneath the waters of Waconda Reservoir.

It is through a medium holding adjacent atmospheres, that we find a new proximity: a horizon, a shoreline, a strath (where a grassland meets a river) are central to edge-centric environments. Within this medium, situational habit and sensory prejudice are expunged. The instant at which the nostrils breach the water's surface - STOP. Just before breathing-in, find the equilibrium that is the edge between these adjacent realms. Within this continuum water-droplets and planets are indistinguishable. This plane of entry and its expanding liminal space are explored within this video synthesis.

The video extends an appreciation for our subjects and viewers, a mutual moment of delight. Within this delight we have procured trans-dimensional assistance via the Qooliero, a culture of beings similar to the early Buddhists' Arhats. These anthropomorphic super-beings are capable of, among other things, time travel and atonement regeneration. In Scene One, we are escorted by Mother of Mountains-Geometer Qooliero and in Suite Two, by Arranger of Rods Divining-Remover of All Guilty Things Qooliero. (Time travel is technically feasible within the appropriate context of atonement, which has been fully realized herein.)