Mary Miss / CALL

2014-2017/ The White River, Indianapolis, In


StreamLines fostered curiosity and exploration of the Indianapolis waterways.  The project’s conceptual framework and visual components were conceived and designed by artist Mary Miss to highlight the major tributaries of the White River through contextual, immersive, and game-like experience of the sites and their unique characteristics. StreamLines has been made possible by a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Advancing Informal Science Learning Program (AISL).

StreamLines was situated on five sites, in diverse communities along tributaries of the White River.  Miss’ sculptural elements revealed the natural systems and infrastructure that impact the Indianapolis waterways and encourage exploration of the area. Located in residential and industrial neighborhoods, the sites were selected in partnership with Indianapolis citizens participating in the ROW (Reclaiming Our Waterways) initiative.

Each installation included a large mirror positioned above a concrete pedestal, and set in the middle of a 14’ diameter gravel circle. Stepping up onto the pedestal and looking up into the mirror, the visitor sees her reflection, the landscape behind her, and black 3-d words embedded in the ground below. Red “balance beams” drew the viewer’s attention out into the surroundings, encouraging a physical exploration of the site and mental reflection on the connections between water and our daily lives. Text on the sites includes poetry, scientific and historical facts, riddles, jokes, prompts, and questions. The text also directs visitors to an app and website [] that enrich the potential for learning and engagement. Site themes address water and its many states in the environment, the importance of water to Indianapolis’ development and history, water infrastructure and the connection to the larger watershed.

StreamLines included programming such as music, dance and poetry, merging science and the arts to advance the community's understanding and appreciation of Indianapolis’ waterways.  Composers Hanna Been, Olga Bell, Stuart Hyatt, Roberto Lange, Moses Sumney, and Matthew Skjonsberg created original musical works inspired by each of the locations. Choreographer Cynthia Pratt (Professor of Dance, Butler University) has also been commissioned to develop a series of new dances that will be performed by Butler Department of Dance students. Indiana poets Catherine Bowman, Alessandra Lynch, and Adrian Matejka penned original pieces for each site.  Special public programs such as poetry readings, dance and music performances will deepen the engagement of visitors and neighborhood residents.