As the biotic, communal and transformative qualities of water are threatened in the current environment, so is human well-being. Cultural perspectives shape how people view and interact with water, be it as a commodity, a resource, a reminder of how all life on the planet is interrelated, the embodiment of spirit– as Dorothy Christian phrases it, and more. What roles do culture and poetics play in supporting a healthy, water-based ecology? The project involves respectfully listening to local, global, and indigenous perspectives on water, and considering what is both spatially and temporally downstream.
Building toward a conference at Emily Carr in 2012 around World Water Day, the project will make space for environmentalists, community leaders, elders and academics to dialogue with writers and artists. Downstream will also lead toward a book and media that poetically explore how the local relates to the global through water. The project’s collaborators include Dorothy Christian, Peter Cole, Pat O’Riley, Larissa Lai, Karolle Wall, Kelly Phillips, and Walter K. Lew.