September 7, 2015

Erosive Forces

Erosive Forces
By Jeanette Hart-Mann
September 7, 2015

At Cebolla Canyon, New Mexico, artist Teri Rueb joined our crew for several days running a soundscape workshop and presenting her work via solar-mini-projector-wonder. Literally out in the woods. Quietly we listened to the sounds of this site building maps of what we hear through facsimiles of utterances, shapes, textures, and space, relationships between I and other.

The week was filled with inspiration from artists, crumbling homesteads, rock ruins, erosion, and elk hunters. Even though this site is an old familiar one, there is still much unknown. For example, the arroyo in Cebolla Canyon is just such a thing. Its scale is immense, with walls over 25’ and probably 6+ miles long. It is shocking to think that this represents the current level of groundwater in the area. Having moved 25+’ under. Almost like a burial. Never to be brought back with roots tapped out and struggling to reach those depths.

Curiosity got the best of us as we decided to take a grand journey up canyon to find the beginning. The head-cut of the arroyo grande. Sort of like a colonial expedition we eventually did stumble upon it, but only as we were relocating “Mary” the rattlesnake and moving her away from our cook tent and driving her 2 miles up-canyon in a trashcan. I think she appreciated it and so did we.

The head of the arroyo turned out to be the location of a large restoration earthwork made of bleach-black lava rock, a white granite-like stone and designed by Bill Zeedyk. It was massive and I wished I were a raven, or 'gag' a drone, to capture the birdseye view from above of the black and white fan-like design. As a intervention to slow erosion, it berms-up the head under massive boulders and slows the water and soil run-off draining into the channel. It ultimately keeps the head cut from moving up canyon. But the question still remains, how can something so massively distructive be fixed?

Arial image of earthwork before its construction (photo Google)
On earthwork looking down arroyo (photo jhm)
Earthwork closeup (photo jhm)
Cebolla Arroyo (photo jhm)
Discovered natural clay ball (photo jhm)
Clay ball broken (photo jhm)
Teri Reub discussing listening with the body (photo jhm)
One Sandy Wash troupe perparing for performance (photo jhm)
On top of Cebolla (photo jhm)
On top of Cebolla (photo jhm)

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