Relative positions of Rio Grande near El Paso between 1852 and 1907.jpg
Relative positions of the Rio Grande near El Paso between 1852 and 1907, created by the International Boundary Commission, United States and Mexico in 1911, from the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library. 

Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION – Rio Meander Map

Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION will conduct an interdisciplinary deep research studio and seminar to construct a meander map of the Rio Bravo / Rio Grande as it marks the border from Juarez / El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. We will collectively research, study draw the history and traces of the ever-changing living river. The work produced will be part a publication being developed by the artist Zoe Leonard, a former Land Arts field guest, and poet Tim Johnson to build knowledge around terrain of past (and future) field operations. The 2020 Adaption seeks to responsibly honor the ethos, aspirations, and complexities of the Land Arts program that is dedicated to teaching greater awareness and understanding of how we as humans build and operate on the planet.

Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION will operate as an immersive non-traveling studio and seminar to conduct the research necessary to collectively produce a meander map of the Rio Bravo / Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez / El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico that will describe the undulating and shifting course of the river over time and provide a significant resource for Leonard’s publication that will accompany her exhibition Al Rio / To the River at Mudam, the Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg in 2021, then traveling to the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris before coming to the United States and Mexico. The map, inspired by those produced by Harold Fisk and team in 1944 of The Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi, will require extensive binational and multilingual research into the history of river geometry and mapping as a manifestation of dynamic ecosystems modified over time by wide ranges of human construction.

The rio meander map will be a living map, a dynamic portrait of persistently shifting geographic, social, and political conditions. The map will have an after life beyond the semester in two ways. In the near term during Spring 2021 it will be the subject of the 2020 Land Arts Adaptation Exhibition at the Museum of Texas Tech University. Over the long term it will live on at the new Border Consortium being established by POST (Project for Operative Spatial Technologies) at the Texas Tech College of Architecture in El Paso. 

The primary deliverable is the collective creation of the rio meander map. To complete it participants from the studio, the associated seminar and affiliated guests will divide across four primary working groups: Researchers – Spanish language, Researchers – English language, GeoSpatial Synthesizers, and Graphic Producers. The working groups will facilitate independent research action and collective production that will be aggregated and managed through digital communication and file sharing. Weekly activity will be logged through production posting and feedback cycles supported by common discussion sections. There will be guest sessions with project advisors and affiliates to expand the range of dialog and production. Participation is possible through the studio, seminar, or both.

While technically a hybrid course, given the amount of remote participants all activity will be coordinated online.

Full Program Description and Syllabi

Graphic introduction and progress updates will post to our public Miro board.

Contributing Faculty and Advisors

  • Curtis Bauer, poet, translator and Texas Tech faculty.
  • Rafael Beneytez Durán, architect and University of Houston faculty.
  • Judith Birdsong, writer, photographer, researcher of geo-political histories, and University of Texas at Austin faculty.
  • Erin Charpentier and Travis Neel, social practice artists and new faculty at Texas Tech.
  • Kevin Chua, art historian, Texas Tech faculty and Land Arts Faculty Advisory Member.
  • John Davis, environmental and architectural historian and Ohio State faculty.
  • Noemie Despland-Lichtert, historian, curator and educator teaching at Texas Tech.
  • Idoia Elola, linguist teaching at Texas Tech.
  • Elisandra Garcia, architect and activist teaching at Texas Tech.
  • Rebecca Gates, musician, curator, artist.
  • Gretchen Henderson, writer and Associate Director for Research at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Tim Johnson, poet, editor, publisher and owner of Marfa Book Company.
  • Nick Keys, writer and program director based in Sydney, Australia.
  • Ersela Kripa, architect and interim director of the Texas Tech El Paso program.
  • Susan Larson, urban theorist and writer, Texas Tech faculty and Land Arts Faculty Advisory Member.
  • Caleb Lightfoot, architecture and archeology designer.
  • Cesar Lopez, design-researcher and representation guru starting tenure track at University of New Mexico.
  • Victoria McReynolds, architect and Texas Tech faculty.
  • Stephen Mueller, architect and director of POST: Project for Operative Spatial Technologies at the Texas Tech El Paso program.
  • Patrick Casey O’Shea, artist and technologies with freshly minted MFA from the Art & Tech program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Jennifer Yvette Terrell, writer living in El Paso with PhD in Politics from the New School.
  • Jesse Vogler, architect with background in surveying and landscape, head of new architecture program at the Free University in Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Nichole Wiedemann, architect and researcher on faculty at UT Austin.

Participants (enrolled studio and seminar students, guest contributors, and witness auditors)

  • Maria Amador, architect with Master of Architecture from Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, Spain. Land Arts Certificate. 
  • Alden Anderson, associate architect with Bachelor of Architecture from University of Texas at Austin, based in New York City.
  • Andres Armendariz, Texas Tech architecture undergraduate student.
  • Joe Bondi, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Bryan Brummett, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Haley Cooper, Texas Tech architecture undergraduate student.
  • Stephanie Enriquez, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Frances Erlandson, graduate of Bennington College with emphasis in poetry and architecture.
  • Caitlin Ford, currently teaching in Japan with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Temple University in Philadelphia, with interests in landscape architecture and ecology. 
  • Lia Forslund, Land Arts 2019 alumni, writer and artist from Sweden based in Prague.
  • Ana Garcia Merino, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Rebekah King, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Gretchen Korsmo, architectural designer based in Littlefield, Texas.
  • Jana La Brasca, Land Arts 2013 alumni and art history PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Jonathan Lalinde, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Mauricio Lizama, art conservator based in Santiago de Chile.
  • Alex Lopez-Iglesias, designer and map maker with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona and a Master of Fine Arts in Design from the Univeristy of Texas at Austin.
  • Maggie Mitts, Land Arts 2019 alumni with a Master of Arts in Art History from University of Texas at Austin.
  • Adam Neese, art conservator at the Menil with and Master of Fine Arts in photography from University of North Texas and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Ambrocia Noyola, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Carissa Perez, Texas Tech architecture undergraduate student.
  • Adrian Reyna, Land Arts 2019 alumni and Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Daniel Rios, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Helene Romakin, art historian and PhD candidate at ETH Zurich
  • Julio Sanchez Garcia, architect with MA from Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, Spain.
  • Ryan Seward, musician, sound artist, and Master of Arts in Music candidate at Wesleyan University.
  • Grace Shanks, Texas Tech architecture undergraduate student.
  • Claudia Vasquez, Land Arts 2016 alumni and artist based in Santiago de Chile.
  • Jose Villanueva, architectural designer, artist and Land Arts 2009 alumni based in Oak Cliff, Texas.
  • Landon Wade, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.
  • Franek Wardynski, artist from Poland based in Prague.
  • Andrew Weathers, musician and sound artist based in Littlefield, Texas.
  • Mia Zaro, Texas Tech Master of Architecture candidate.

Progress from our efforts will be posted to the field reports and on our public Miro board.

Leonard_al rio.jpg
Zoe Leonard, image from Al Rio/To the River, 2016–20. Gelatin silver prints. © Zoe Leonard. 
Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.

Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION

How does a field program adapt to a pandemic? Science fiction scenarios of bio-hazard-suited researchers, roaming the desert, examining the residue of humanity’s engagement with the natural world do not adequately protect participants from covid-19 uncertainty. Nor can we shield the vulnerable communities and lands—disadvantaged by systemic economic poverty and limited health infrastructure—that we routinely encounter. Rather than magnify the inherent risks of travel, Land Arts 2020 will adapt.

Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION will conduct an interdisciplinary deep research studio and seminar to construct a meander map of the Rio Bravo / Rio Grande as it marks the border from Juarez / El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. We will collectively research, study, draw, the history and traces of the ever-changing river. The work produced will be part a publication being developed by the artist Zoe Leonard, a former Land Arts field guest, and poet Tim Johnson to build knowledge around terrain of past (and future) field operations. The 2020 Adaption seeks to responsibly honor the ethos, aspirations, and complexities of the Land Arts program that is dedicated to teaching greater awareness and understanding of how we as humans build and operate on the planet. 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Land Arts 2020 Adaptation will operate from the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University during the Fall semester as a non-traveling (face-to-face and/or hybrid-remote) studio and seminar to conduct the research necessary to produce the Rio Bravo / Rio Grande meander map that will describe the undulating and shifting course of the river over time and provide a significant resource for Leonard’s Al Rio / To the River publication.

The map, inspired by those produced by Harold Fisk and team in 1944 of The Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi, will require extensive binational and multilingual research into the history of river geometry and mapping as a manifestation of dynamic ecosystems modified over time by wide ranges of human construction.

The opportunity for students, guests, and the Land Arts program, to create a map as temporal condition report that will have significant international visibility is a tremendous opportunity in itself, and a clear way to productively adjust our operations to the present conditions. 

Participation is open to everyone—architects, artists, poets, writers, historians, linguists, geographers, scientists—from those interested in the 12 credit hour graduate Land Arts Certificate to undergraduates and people yet to enroll in the university. Ideally participants will register for both the graduate topical studio and seminar, yet that is not required as it will also be possible to participate through variable credit independent study or the seminar or studio individually. There will be a host of guest collaborators from across campus and beyond. 

For additional information see the Land Arts 2020 ADAPTATION prospectus and get in touch with Chris Taylor.