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The Uncertainty of Rain: Worldbuilding and future-making in Amman

From researching underwater adventures in the Red Sea, to learning about the historic sites in the Wadi Rum, the research and preparation phase of the Creative Impact Lab Amman has been exciting and enlightening. The topic for the Lab is sustainability, and given my own recent work on ocean health, I feel compelled to explore water as a cultural and ecological resource in Jordan. Like parts of California (where I currently live), Jordan is stressed for water, while facing additional challenges from the climate crisis and population growth. Aquifers that supply Jordanians with clean water are running dry, impacting both the daily available water for urban dwellers, and the ability for agriculturalists in rural areas to maintain sustainable livelihoods.

I want to raise this as a topic of discussion with the workshop participants and learn about their own relationships to water. How do they feel about the climate crisis in Jordan? In what ways does water show up in their lives — in cultural and historic art and references, in pop culture, in their daily conversations with friends and family? How do they envision the future of water? We will explore these questions through a two-week intensive hosted by IDare for Sustainable Development in the capital city, Amman.

Photogrammetry model of an underwater sponge colony
Still from Submerged Meadow, featuring a photogrammetry model of an underwater sponge colony. Image Courtesy of Isabel Beavers.

Water is both a collective and highly personal resource, so I want our multimedia project to explore methods of collective resilience and collaboration. In my past work facilitating collaborative groups with Mountain Time Arts in Bozeman, Montana, and in my home city of Los Angeles, I have found that the challenges of collaboration bring huge rewards. I hope that as a team we can all learn to work together and generate new ideas and dialogues through the process of co-creating — a skill set that is essential for climate adaptation.

Blue and orange gradients projected onto 10 egg-shaped hanging sculptures
Submerged Meadow at the Seattle Aquarium (2022). Photo by Chris Scarborough.

In reviewing the applications for the Lab, I am excited to see how many participants are passionate about sustainability and water issues in Jordan, while also being excited to incorporate art and technology for creating responses to ecological issues. Our team will include architects, designers, teachers, artists, water experts and more. My hope is that we will all learn from one another, and our collective installation will emerge from the structures of collaboration.

Three collaborators posing for a group photo in front of the dance set with projection coloring them
Collaborative team for The Aquarium (2022). L to R: Joan P. Fricke, Isabel Beavers, Rachael Lovinger. Photo by Rush Varela.

For our collaborative project, we will develop a multimedia installation using sculpture, video, sound, and projection mapping. We will weave influences into the work that are pulled from local art galleries and museums, as well as the participants' own cultural inspirations, research and knowledge. This exchange of ideas, skills, time, meals, and creative production becomes a meaningful part of the process of making. While some of the details regarding the final form of the multimedia installation are to be determined, I am excited to continue creating a structure for our collaboration.

Warm colors are projected onto over a dozen hanging sculptures
Submerged Meadow process shot (2021). Courtesy of Isabel Beavers.

 

Feature image credit: The Aquarium at Heidi Duckler Dance, 2022. Photo by Rush Varela.

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