The Course of Water | 2011-Present

A drop of water taken up from the Pacific Ocean by a sunbeam, shall fall as a snowflake on the top of Mt. Whitney’s Peak, lie in the frozen silence through the long winter, stir again under the summer sun, and seek to find its way back to the sea down the granite steeps and fissures. It shall join its fellows in mad frolics in mountain gorges, singing the song of falling waters and dancing with the fairies in the moonlight. It shall come to rest upon the bosom of a crystal lake, and forget for awhile its quest of the ocean level. Again It shall obey the law and resume its journey with murmurs and frettings; and then it shall pass out of the sunlight and the free air and be borne along a weary way in utter darkness and silence for many days. And at last the drop that fell as a snowflake upon the top of Whitney’s peak and that set out to find its home in the sea, shall be taken up from beneath the ground by a thirsty rootlet and distilled into the perfume of an orange blossom in a garden of the City of the Queen of the Angels.

— Allen Kelly, "The Idyl of the Snowflake"

The Course of Water explores the complex and far-reaching consequences of human intervention in California's Owens Valley. The project documents the flow of water in the region, with a specific emphasis on how these interventions have impacted Owens Lake, once the natural terminus of the Owens River.


Copyright © Todd Stewart 2004-2024
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