There is much existing research to pull from when considering river flow dynamics, especially in Calgary. We, as a city, are relatively close to the source of the Bow River, and subsequently we have a responsibility to all the critters upstream, and all the people downstream. The good folks at Calgary’s Water Services Centre consider questions surrounding our rivers extensively, including research into riverbank health, flooding, water treatment, wastewater, riparian habitats, and much more. As one of our many research trips informing this public artwork, we met with a series of fascinating scientists & engineers at the Water Centre, and picked their brains about flow dynamics, sedimentation, and the interstitial space between River + City.
When progressing an idea, many things happen at the same time. With our Public Artwork, we began with O2’s Delta Garden landscape designs (linework above), and worked towards a concept, material, and pattern at the same time. We wanted to work within the landscape architecture, but (especially after meeting with river experts) we didn’t want to pull our imagery out of thin air.
And so we built a miniature maquette of Delta Garden, and poured water, sediment, and ink through it, observing real patterns in physical space.
We’re interested in visually relating deposits of sediment with patterns built from survey monuments – the debris and detritus of shifting landscapes. In river systems, there are additive and subtractive effects of rivers on the landscape: erosion and accretion work hand-in-hand.
Since the Delta Garden is a mythical form, we wanted to see how it would react to sediment, creating visuals to pull from for our patterning. First, we filtered thick sediment (similar to that found in the Bow River) through high-science cooking implements, and we passed this substrate through the maquette.
This was interesting, but we wanted to see if we could create more fluid forms. We filled the maquette with milky water and passed ink through the delta.
While this approach is pseudoscientific at best, it was satisfying to take the Delta Garden off the page and into the real world, if only in miniature.
Later, we took this information, broke it into components, super-imposed it onto sediment research, and translated it into graphite + paper to create our Delta Garden sediment pattern.
Below is a draft. Stay tuned as we refine our patterning!