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LA River bridge

The LA River Project 2022 - ongoing

This critical cartographic work problematizes the Western science gaze and ongoing hydrocolonialsm of the L.A. basin while celebrating the animacy of river-as-body. The L.A. River is one of the most threatened rivers in the US. Many species disappeared from the LA basin after the river was channeled into a concrete freeway. Using a feminist science lens, this project was inspired by over 2000 environmental DNA sequencing experiments together with conversations with L.A. River guardians and sentient river ecologies. I coated ethically sourced specimens in gold dust, visualized with high-resolution electron microscopy, and wove them into a 14-foot painted riverscape. These river meanders are my response to local topographies, illuminating the complex multispecies becoming of the LA watershed. These  distorted and disappearing throughlines create a confusion of micro and macro topographies to join earth systems into a body and also function in part as a gesture towards the rematriation land movements of the Gabrielino/Tongva and Tataviam tribes of the LA area. 

Activate the DNA data river explorer here.

Many thanks to supporters/collaborators at: the UC Berkeley Art Department for valuable R&D support; CALeDNA program for eDNA data; Rachel Myer's lab at UC Santa Cruz for community building workshops; Norris Center for Natural History for the necklace specimens and funding; Savannah Hunter for jewelry collaboration; and the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute and OpenLab for funding support!

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