Thursday, 23 May 2013

Confluence: word arts in the estuary

This spring I had the pleasure to work with a group of local school children, generating river-related words in a text-as-decorative-intervention public art project. I came away with large, small, and medium pages, filled with words and phrases. The following series of rectangular word clouds were created via wordle, demonstrating word frequency. 

The heron-shaped word act or word art is also a word-frequency chart, showing the most considered and best favoured words of the students, on my last day in the classroom. The image was created by my daughter Flora using tagxedo. It has become the symbolic image of the public art aspects of the larger No. 1 Road North Drainage Pump Station project. This public art aspect is called Confluence.

Words were submitted in English (many), Chinese (many), Japanese (few) and Arabic (one). Due to limitations of transcription (software & human) only the english words are presented here. The final showcase will present a balanced sampling of the full net of this rich multicultural word harvest.

North No 1 Road Drainage Pump Station Art Panels (Terra Nova)
Backgrounders & context:
Browse the map and discover all the public art in your neighbourhood. You can also browse a list of the artwork. But it doesn’t end here. New features are planned for early 2013 including: artist profiles, advance search capabilities and more online photos of the artworks. View the Public Art Collection.  source
There are 38 stations located throughout the island which house a total of 110 pumps.  At high tide, these pump drainage water into the river.  At low tide, drainage water discharges through the flood boxes into the river via gravity outflow gates.
These stations are powered by electricity and have the capacity to pump up over one million US gallons per minute, if required.  All of the stations are monitored remotely, 24 hours per day, to ensure the pumps are operating effectively.
These pump stations are designed for a 1 in 10 year rainstorm.  To help prevent isolated flooding, the City monitors weather forecasts and pumps down the level of drainage water in the canals prior to any anticipated rainstorms.  This provides extra capacity to hold the surplus drainage water caused by the storm.  source
No. 1 Road North Drainage Pump Station Upgrade
Project Description
The existing No. 1 Road North drainage pump station is nearing the end of its service life and is not able to meet the demands of future development. Completion of this station will replace the existing structure, modernize the equipment and increase the pumping capacity from 1.98 cubic meters per second to 4.5 cubic meters per second to meet future predicted flows.
Location  No. 1 Road at River Road
Project Manager  Mile Racic    source
South No 1 Road Drainage Pump Station (Steveston)
My thanks to Renata Hyrman and her enthusiastic class of students, Spul'u'kwuks Elementary, Richmond BC. I would like to thank Lee Maracle and Eric Fiss among others who have consulted with me on various aspects of this project. Thanks to Mile for his patience, and for providing images of both the project in question (top image, North) and a similar-sounding completed pump station (South), located in Steveston.


Jonina said...

very very cool Joanne! love the way you have played with words here. collaboration with people and with software programs. neat idea!

much love jonina

Joanne Arnott said...

Thanks! Assessed visually: in the first cloud, water and sea are the key concepts; in the second, water and nature; and in the third, water and lively. Each has a phalanx of also important but lesser or subordinate concepts, one size down. In art, majority doesn't rule, of course, but it is easy in this way to find the guy-wire that will keep the project from going too far astray, keep me rooted in those most important concepts.

It's a fascinating process to be balancing the one and the many, perspectives, words, etc. The plan is to complete and have an opening in the next six to eight weeks, so, typing with my fingers crossed...