With the advice from RSNP, the program coordinator (Keiko Sono) researches appropriate property owners/residents in the watershed for the project. The ideal participant would be someone who is interested and observant in the natural feature of their properties, which should have some body of water, i.e. stream, spring, vernal pool, etc., and is open to the idea of collaborating with an artist. Open calls and recommendations would be considered for recruiting participants.

  1. As the coordinator visits potential participants, she creates a matching list of artists for collaboration, paying attention to common interests, personal chemistries, similar dispositions, etc.
  2. In the process of searching for participating landowners/residents, stories of life in the watershed are collected and archived in video and audio libraries.
  3. Once the matching is complete, the artists visit the residents and collect stories (one artist per property). The aim of the process is to delve deeper into the resident’s personal relationship with his/her land than possible with the usual documentary-style interviews. Many property owners who care about the ecology of their land have stories and observations to share. By deploying artists, who can discern the poetics in these personal anecdotes, our hope is to establish emotional connections among all those involved, from the property owner to an audience in New York City who consume the water that originates in these mountains.
  4. The landowner and artist collaborate on their story in the format of their choice—a musician might write a song; an installation artist might collect natural objects from the land and create an installation; a book artist could produce one-of-a-kind books, for example.
  5. The collection of the stories in all their varied forms are presented in exhibitions and online. Chrch Project Space in Cottekill is scheduled to host our first exhibition in November of 2017.
  6. The coordinator produces and publishes documentation of the entire process in video and on social media.

Project Notes