The White River, Indianapolis, Indiana


In five modest neighborhoods in Indianapolis a cluster of mirrors and red beams
radiate out from a central point to nearby streams and waterways: these elements
stake out a territory for observation. At the center visitors can step up onto a
pedestal to see their own image in a four foot diameter mirror placing them in the
middle of the reflected landscape while casting them in the role of the statue /
activator/ principal character. Single words and texts are reflected in the smaller
mirrors that dot the site; some of the texts are poems while others are prompts that
encourage exploration. All are intended to provoke the visitor’s curiosity and send
them out to the nearby waterways.

Whether following a red beam out to observe habitat at a stream’s edge, trying to
walk at the same pace as the flow of the stream or listening to music composed for
each unique location, the goal is to engage citizens with a place based experience of
these waterways that support every aspect of their lives. The installations are like
anchors, the starting points for explorations and will be activated over the next year
by walks and dialogues with scientists and artists, by performances and readings.
The goal is to allow the people of Indianapolis to begin to imagine what they would
like to see their streams, lakes and rivers become in the future.
StreamLines was collaboration between artists, musicians, poets, dancers and
scientists to foster 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.

Integrated with the installations were poems written by Indiana based poets
Catherin Bowman, Alessandra Lynch, and Adrian Matejka. Accompanying the
installations was a series of original dance performances: River Run and River Run
Revisited, choreographed by Cynthia Pratt and Larry Attaway, performed by the
dancers from the Butler Ballet; and Sound works, curated by Michael Kaufmann and
composed by Stuart Hyatt, Olga Bell, Roberto Lange, Hanna Been, Moses Sumney,
and Matthew Skjonsberg, which were made available at Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The project included public programing including the collection of oral histories and
poem workshops for elementary school students.

If you are interested in viewing the work, the installation at Pogues Run, Holy Cross
at Vermont street, Indianapolis, Indiana, is still active.

StreamLines has been made possible by a grant from the National Science
Foundation (NSF), Advancing Informal Science Learning Program (AISL).


To learn more, download the Streamlines Booklet for more background information on the project, or watch Mary Miss discuss the project in the short film Encouraging Curiosity

On the Streamlines website you can see documentation of the dance performances, examples of the poems, and the music works all created for the Streamlines project.

For reporting on the project, see below:



Art, Science, and Nature Merge in Holcomb Gardens