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The River Rail is a collective declaration of our interdependence—a hive mind focused on our rights and responsibilities to water that pushes beyond the outmoded boundaries of city, state and country to an intercontinental engagement.

Saving the West

Imagine a Forest Industry of the 21st Century where the act of harvesting preserves the system and the act of preserving the system provides meaningful work for the human community.

Con Cón, Chile, 1966 – 2006

My art was born at the meeting point of two waters, the Aconcagua River and the Pacific Ocean, at a site the first peoples of Chile called Con cón: “Water water”.

Admiralty Sound Expedition Report

I have been working in Tierra del Fuego for five years as part of the research collective Ensayos, which brings an international group of artists and social scientists together with ecologists and locals to think through environmental and sustainability questions in the region.

In Many Ways:
an attempt to explain HAWAPI’s approach to Climate Change through art

HAWAPI means “outside” or “to be outside” in Qechua, the native language of the Andes. It represents our ethos of working beyond the usual confines of the art world.

Water Out of Nowhere:
Technological Solutions to a Legal Failure on Salt River Reservation, 1910 – 1939

In a modern impulse to perfect nature and make it as productive as possible, either through spiritual or conservationist principles whose mandates dovetailed nicely, the settler population changed the environment of the area forever and severely limited indigenous water supplies in the process.


Infrastructure is Nature! Infrastructure is alive. It is an active extension of society and, thus, is active within the living world.

Preserves and Corrodes:
William Lamson's Mineralogy and Hydrologies Projects

This is not water to wade in, to bathe in, to swim in. Nor is it a water of floods, of shipwrecks, of melting glaciers. It’s an entropic water, a polluted water, a corrosive, and therefore, a political water.

River Rail In Conversation

DON CHURCH with Haley Mellin

My earliest memory is trying to protect a beetle that kids were trying to crush in daycare. For some reason, I always wanted to protect animals.

A River is a Drawing...

Rivers, Ice floes, Glaciers, the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps, sonar views of the ocean floor, to simple water waves, frozen in time by a photograph. Rivers are something we tend to see at the place we know.

The Water Was Drained

Water, in its geological nature, belongs where Mexico City now stands. The valley, now home to over nine million people, used to be the lacustrine system of Texcoco, a body of water extending over 1,200 square miles...

River Rail In Conversation

Green Hermeticism:
DAVID LEVI STRAUSS with Peter Lamborn Wilson & Christopher Bamford

Alchemy and Hermeticism are about the primacy of the in-between. Reality and healing and transformation and creation and art are in the in-between, the both-and. And to the extent that we lose the ability to be in-between, we lose the world, and, for now, we have lost the ability to be in-between, and we have lost the world.

Raquel Salas Rivera

“el obrero se limita a producir el valor de su fuerza de trabajo” (el otoño más largo) / “the worker is limited to producing the value of his labor power” (the longest fall)

Marcella Durand

"Metaphor Exchange," "The Prospect," "Earth’s Horizon"

Edwin Torres

"Celestial Spine," "Infinity Reel," "Torn Expanse," "Pollopel Island," "Oh Water Man"


I have no sense of failure when I am with you / everything matters because everything / hurts someone somewhere as it is mattering...

Smoke and Water, ideology and viewer

A reimagined signification of ash swirling in water broadly reveals the hegemony of the coal industry and the way that its power serves the pursuit of capital through the dispossession of land, water, clean air, health, property value, and financial stability from surrounding communities.


Speech is river (raw material) / (water) / current descending or spirit in continuity

The Go-Between

Originally, I wanted to steer clear of speaking on behalf of the people and things whose stories I want to see televised, so I rejected the early suggestion by my advisors that I should write scripts to get the web series going. As I described in my previous letter to you, I argued instead for a more experimental process of ethnofiction filmmaking, advocating for casual interviews, playful reenactments and analytical editing techniques as my chosen methodology.

Readings, resources, and audiovisual material

For this issue of the River Rail Lauren Bon of Metabolic Studio asked me to recommend readings, resources, and audiovisual texts related to various interconnected themes

River Rail Gallery

Meg Webster, Diana Wege, Alexis Rockman, David Brooks, Jackie Winsor, and Charles Gains.

From the Publisher & Artistic Director

Dear Friends and Readers,

The River Rail raises issues that many of us are not aware of, and proposes some actions. This augury of ecological concerns and explorations is a new beginning of our collective work in the making.



The Brooklyn Rail


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