Saturday, October 12, 2013

Clear Creek, Indiana

Clear Creek, Indiana, October 2013

While on the Ucross residency, I stumbled upon an 1893 United States Postal Guide displayed in a glass case in the waiting area of the Big Red House. I was struck by the page it was turned to featuring all the places in the US with the name "Clear." Two of them were in Indiana ("oh, the irony" was my second impression).

Over the past year and a half, Brent Cole and I have experimented with exposing cyanotypes on glass followed by firing them in the kiln. The blue is quickly transformed into various hues of brown depending on the temperature. My concept involved using the clear water samples but it wasn't until Wyoming, did I realize that there was something more.

I visited Clear Creek, Indiana last weekend, collecting a gallon of water from the surprisingly translucent stream. I plan on making artwork with the contents, extending further than photographs of the sample. The end product will, in part, comment on turning the seemingly clear water (represented as blue) into the polluted cesspool that it really is (symbolized by brown).

From the City of Bloomington website:

"Riparian habitat damage, sedimentation, excess nutrients and algae, toxic substances, and sewage-related problems contribute to severe habitat degradation in some stretches of Clear Creek. In Indiana's most recent Integrated Water Monitoring and Assessment Report, Clear Creek was in multiple locations not assessed for its ability to support certain designated uses. However, the data that is available shows that certain stretches of Clear Creek are impaired by contamination from E. coli, mercury, and PCBs. These findings are consistent with the history of Clear Creek, which has consistently been described as impaired by the presence of toxic contaminants."

Clear Lake is next on the list before winter arrives.

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