Floodwaters, 2018    







Vimeo Movie




Shown here is the first completed stage of the Floodwaters Project.  It is intended that this project will evolve and additional elements will be added to this experience.

We are witnessing the environmental effects of climate change in unprecedented ways.  Floodwaters focuses on the rising waters that have become a way of life in many communities worldwide.  This artwork explores the failure of the engineered landscape.  The central feature of this project is a riverbed that is manipulated by various robotic processes to mimic different flooding scenarios. Instead of a flood event taking days, these events will happen over the course of a few hours. 

Initially a large table filled with a bed of sand and gravel uses servo motors to tilt to approximately 35 degrees.  At the top, a linear stepper actuator moves a water hose to one of 30 random positions and then a trickle of water is pumped from a reservoir below. Slowly riverlets are cut into the sand bed feeding into larger tributaries. Every 10 minutes the water hose is moved by the mechanism creating new places for erosion. After anywhere from 3 hours to 1 day, depending on gallery setting, the entire stream table tilts back to a level and flat position.  Finally, over the course of 20 minutes a rake manipulated by 2 large linear stepper drives and a servo motor take four passes to rake the landscape flat.  Now the table is reset and the entire process will continue to repeat itself for the duration of the exhibition. 

Materials: aluminum, stainless steel, plywood, sand, gravel, polycarbonate, water, stepper motors, linear servo motors, water pump, vinyl tubing, HDPE plastic sheeting, plastic tube, Arduino Pro-mini’s, wiring, power supplies and various other electronics.

Dimensions: 10ft L x 4ft W x 5ft H

Floodwaters has been funded by an Art and Humanities Initiative Grant from the University of Iowa.