There Must Be Other Names for the River

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There Must Be Other Names for the River

A multi-media installation examining the history, present, and potential futures of the Rio Grande.

As the snow melts in the Rocky Mountains and runs to the rivers, water and climate change experts look to the Rio Grande. In 2018, reporter Laura Paskus wrote, “In early April, when the Middle Rio Grande should have been rushing with snowmelt, New Mexico’s largest river dried. It started through Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, spreading to more than 20 miles by now. The Albuquerque stretch may dry come June or July, which would mean some 120 miles dry altogether this summer … To see this happening in spring is shocking. But we shouldn’t be surprised. We knew this could happen.” (From Paskus’ article “A dry Rio Grande in Springtime isn’t normal. But it will be.“)

To bring awareness to this critical issue, three MFA students—Marisa Demarco, Dylan McLaughlin, Jessica Zeglin—have conceptualized a score and installation based on river flow data of the Rio Grande. At the core of the exhibition are recorded performances of singers who embody the river physically and spatially – representing the history, present day, and possible futures of this critical water source.

Scrutinizing human manipulation of the river, the artists aim to directly communicate the trajectory of this lifeline in the desert. Building on the debut performance of “There Must be Other Names for the River” at UNMAM in the Spring of 2019, the installation allows visitors to spend extended time with and re-visit this critical timeline of the Rio Grande.