I joined the Public Lab River Rat Pack to learn the technique of balloon and kite aerial photo-mapping and to understand how the technique could be used in landscape research. The field work became quite rich when the beginning of the course coincided with major flooding around the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. We were able to photograph three sites along the Mississippi River at major flood stage and two of the same sites at more typical river stage for the spring season.
Because of the need for ground access to some of the sites that flood or are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers, we learned about the river as territory. We studied the flood walls, the locks and dams, and the wing dikes that make the river the engineered landscape that it is today.
In the course, I became an exhibition coordinator, and co-curator—though the process was highly collaborative. We discussed how we could utilize our thousands of aerial photos, our knitted aerial photo-maps, and our ground photos from the fieldwork. We also discussed the need for sections and diagrams showing the relationships among changing water levels, loose landscapes, and hard engineered edges.
I am attaching a couple of exhibition photos to share the results of our semester of fieldwork and our exhibition strategy. I hope the photos give a glimpse into our experience and learning on the river this semester.