Talk to Me About Water
I have to issue a mea culpa– I have not been posting as frequently as I normally do. That’s (partially) because I’ve spent the last week in the majestic redwood forests of northern California, at the DWeb conference.
DWeb (the ‘D’ stands for ‘decentralized’) is an annual four-day event put on by the Internet Archive. (Partner sponsors this year included Filecoin / IPFS and Unfinished). This event featured hundreds of talks, workshops, and programming put on by many of the best and brightest people working in the decentralization space, and I was deeply honored to be a part of it this year.
I was the curator for an art project called Healing Waters.
Composed of indigenous artists, activists, and scientists, our group provided space and resources for people to talk about water in new ways. Part of this group is the art collective: Talk to Me About Water (Nour Batyne, Asha Veeraswamy, Martha Bearskin, Devin Ronneburg, and Eamon O’Connor).
The centerpiece of Healing Waters was a large tent in a part of the camp called the Redwood Cathedral, so-named because of the light cascades through the green canopy of the forest. Outfitted with rugs, mats, and a 4.1 sound system, our tent was the ideal place to relax, meditate, or socialize.
Most of the time, our sound system was playing a custom, generative aural experience designed and implemented by artist and dear friend Devin Ronnenberg. Devin took crowdsourced recordings of water, which camp participants sent in from all around the world, and mixed them into ambient multi-channel magic, suitable as tone-setting background music as well as for immersive sound bath experiences, which we put on several times per day.
During some of the sound baths, we also offered guided meditation and embodied land practices, led by our own Nour Batyne. An artist and co-founder of One of Many Studios in New York, Nour used brought participants along on an incredible journey that blended the physical and the spiritual, inviting deep contemplation about water not as a resource to be managed, but rather as an integral component of who we are as beings.
Healing Waters also hosted some more intellectual programming, such as the panel discussions with indigenous activist and business leader Asha Veeraswamy and Martha Bearskin (yes, my sister) of the US Geological survey. Water is a public good that should be free and available to all, and so is our data about water. Healing Waters fellows explored the myriad ways water data can be accessed and put to use to empower people in the monumental task of conserving and stewarding the substance that supports all life on this planet.
If you know me, you know I like to have a bit of fun. And we certainly did that as well at the Healing Waters tent. Our space was the after-party spot, hosting the wondrous and weary from among DWeb’s nearly 500 participants. Our space saw plenty of impromptu discussions, storytelling, and jam sessions between DWeb campers and the incredibly talented members of the Del Sol Quartet, who graced us with their presence after performing at camp ceremonies.
And speaking of camp ceremonies, I have to give a shout-out to the brilliant Dr. Dawn Martin Hill. Dr. Hill not only stopped by our space, but she and her lovely family also brought Haudenosaunee wisdom and song to the entire group. Nya:wëh!