StreamLines at the Central Canal
4700 Garden Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory created an installation for StreamLines at the Central Canal in Indianapolis. The theme for this site is water as a resource. Topics at the site include precipitation, infrastructure, industry, engineering, recreation and ecosystem services.
- The Canal was intended to connect the Wabash and Erie Canal to the Ohio River.
- The Canal was funded by the $10 million Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvements Act of 1936 signed by Governor Noah Noble.
- During this time there was a boom in canal building that was started by the construction of the Erie Canal.
- $3.5 million was allocated to build the Central Canal.
- The financial Panic of 1837 caused the construction on the Canal to stop in 1839.
- Only 8 miles of the original canal plan were completed.
- The Canal is 60-feet wide and 5-feet deep.
- Water was let into the Canal at Broad Ripple on June 27, 1839.
- Because this section of the Canal was never connected to the larger canal system, the Canal was never used for transportation.
- Instead, the Canal was used for power and turn mills located along the canal banks.
- Today, the Canal supplies Indianapolis with approximately 60% of it's water.
- Six different species of turtle populate the Canal.
- In 1971 the Canal was designated as an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.
Riverrun Revisited Park 2 - Below The Surface
"Below the Surface" is an excerpt from Riverrun Revisited, a site-specific dance performed by more than 100 members of the Butler Ballet and choreographed by Butler University Dance Professor Cynthia Pratt.
This dance was performed at Brookside Park in Indianapolis during September 2016 and expanded upon Riverrun, the original dance performed for StreamLines. Both dances bring to life scientific concepts and concerns about the waterways in Indianapolis.
This excerpt from features poetry commissioned for StreamLInes by Alessandra Lynch and dialog between StreamLines collaborator Mark Kesling and choreographer Cynthia Pratt.
"Epigraphs for a Canal" by Alessandra Lynch (Poetry)
The black walnut likes to stand in the water
we drink. We are part water, part walnut.
All currents do their lifework
below the surface.
Magnolia engine, redbud engine
Engine of clouds, roll out the rain!
Engine of stars, remind us of love.
Cranefly, are you uneasy around us
or around your own pattern?
You’re scaling the bank
in a strip of light
hung by our shadow.
Here: drills, dredgers, noon-bells,
and the delicate machinery
of your legs.
Centuries of geese flying low over water
Centuries of water seeking the lowest level
Centuries of humans—
bend lower to what glows—
green-gold water witch Elodea,
snails and stones.
Centuries of rain knitting land to sky
watchful of darkness
and the light beyond us.
Little cattails assemble at water’s edge
A clownish leaf spins dizzily on the spine of the current
The water delivers many messages about the world
What we carry, what we keep, what is swept away--
In the Kingdom of Light and Water—
Blades of switchgrass and inland sea oats
soften where we walk
The secret that holds
me may be the silver-white sheen
on the red Maple
This water moves under delicate bouquets of gnats
toward her sister, feeding her particles
of bearded iris, feeding her lilac-shag
and bristle-bits from the shy beaver
who gnaws at the root
This water is carrying carrying
milky gold gods, drift-stick gods
feeding her White River sister
Riverrun Part 3 - Central Canal (Dance)
On September 24, 2015, more than 100 members of the Butler Ballet performed Riverrun, a site-specific dance choreographed by Butler University Dance Professor Cynthia Pratt for the StreamLines project. This dance was part of the programming for the project’s launch and performed in Holcomb Gardens on the campus of Butler University.
Riverrun brings to life scientific concepts and concerns about human intervention of the waterways in Indianapolis. The dance takes the audience on a journey of the water. While the dance did have a beginning, middle and end, it was structured as an installation, where audience members could walk around the area, exploring each image fully in their own time and have discussion.
The proximity of the audience to the dancers gave onlookers the feeling that they were part of the performance rather than just observers. The overriding goal of the dance was to convey that we are part of our environment rather than separate from it, and whatever impacts the waterways greatly affects our lives.
The original live performance is divided into six parts for online audiences.
Part 3 – Central Canal
The Central Canal runs from the village Broad Ripple in Indianapolis to just north of 16th St, but access currently closes at 29th. The first half of this section is based on an observation by Pratt, “What struck me most about Central Canal is that it appears completely still and calm on the surface, but underneath it is moving very swiftly—faster than any of the other waterways.”
To depict this, the dancers move slowly in a high level, with others rolling quickly in a low level between them.
The second half of the Central Canal section represents the plant life around all of the waterways. The dancers’ movements are varied, to represent the beauty and diversity of species, but their movements are harmonious to show their interdependence. A couple of minutes into this, however, a large group of dancers appear with sharp, aggressive movements. This group represents an invasive species that has moved into the neglected waterway area. As the invasive species dances, the original dancers break from their harmonious movements and join in with them, illustrating how an invasive species can take over a native ecosystem. Finally, all of the harmonious dancers are absorbed into the group.
The music for Part 3 is “What is the City Hiding” by Stuart Hyatt, a track created for a series of projects titled “Field Notes”. In conjunction with StreamLines, Hyatt produced “Field Works: Pogue’s Run” an album about the facts and fiction of Pogue’s Run.
Watch all six parts of Riverrun:
Part 1 - Rainstorm/Overflow - https://vimeo.com/167134419
Part 2 - Fall Creek - https://vimeo.com/167134418
Part 3 - Central Canal - https://vimeo.com/167134417
Part 4 - Pogue’s Run - https://vimeo.com/167140036
Part 5 - Pleasant Run - https://vimeo.com/167134422
Part 6 - White River Watershed - https://vimeo.com/167140038
"POLYCHROMATICISM" by Matthew Skjonsberg (Composition)
"Polychromaticism, a term I have coined as the title of the composition I have prepared for the National Science Foundation-funded City As Living Laboratory: Science Learning for Resilient Cities (I/CaLL) and to be performed on the Butler University carillon in Indianapolis, is comprised of the following two words:
pol· y· chrome (ˈpäliˌkrōm/) adjective: painted, printed, or decorated in several colors. noun: a work of art in several colors. verb execute or decorate in several colors.
chro· mat· i· cism (kroʊˈmæt əˌsɪz əm) noun: the use of the chromatic scale or chromatic halftones in musical compositions.
The first term, polychrome, is related to visual art and is often used in architecture to describe historic modes of multicolored ornamentation – notably those of historic Egyptian and Greek traditions. The second term, chromaticism, is related to music – addressing the use of the full range of the chromatic scale. My interest in combining these terms with the word polychromaticism is to convey the deep relationship between the visual and aural as wave-based phenomena and – and to explore composition as a systematic procedure, in the sense of exploring a full range of options within the system."
Album art by Oliver Blank
Album image by Tad Fruits
This composition was commissioned as part of StreamLines.
Virtual water is defined as the total volume of water needed to produce and process a commodity or service. It can sometimes be referred to as the water footprint or embedded water of a commodity. On average, one person will eat 3,496 liters of water per day. See the list below for a breakdown of typical breakfast items.
- cup of coffee = 140 liters
- black tea = 30
- glass of Orange Juice = 170
- glass of milk = 200
- slice of toast = 40
- teaspoon of jam = 5
- slice of roast beef = 460
- bowl of cereal = 80
- 2 egg omlette = 200
- 1 apple = 70
- 1 slice of cheese = 125
- 1 teaspoon of butter = 90
What type of tree is different on both sides?
In the croakroom.
Where do tadpoles change into frogs?
What do you call a dinosaur with a extensive vocabulary?
H2O is water and H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. What is H2O4?
A woman tells her husband that her car won’t start. ‘I think there’s water in the carburettor,’ she says. ‘How do you know that?’ asks the husband. The wife replies, ‘I drove it into the canal.’
A minister is driving to see a show and he”s stopped in Indy for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on his breath and then he sees an empty wine bottle on the floor, and he says, “Sir, have you been drinking?” And the minister says, “Just water.” The sheriff says, “Then why do I smell wine?” And the minister looks down at the bottle and says, “Good Lord, He”s done it again!”