The Mississippi River watershed is the fourth largest in the world, spanning over 40 percent of the continental United States. The region is connected by a shared resource, but there is a division between those who benefit and those who are harmed by over a century of waterway engineering. Infrastructure is not neutral; it is a physical marker of tension that results in both loss and gain.
New Orleans-based photographer Virginia Hanusik explores the social and environmental impacts of Mississippi River infrastructure by documenting significant sites throughout the human-altered watershed. With a landscape that is a product of human engineering, Hanusik photographs and analyzes the decisions of past development that have contributed to our current climate crisis.
St. Louis-based Derek Hoeferlin collaboratively researches integrated water-based design strategies across the Mississippi, Mekong, and Rhine River basins through his design-research project Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture. With particular focus on multi-scaled, water-based infrastructural transformation, the project realigns watersheds and architecture across multiple: scales (site to river basin), disciplines (ecologists to economists), narratives (hyperbolic to pragmatic), and venues (academic to professional).
During this event Hanusik and Hoeferlin discussed their current work and the relationship between landscape, infrastructure, and the built environment.
This event is related to the exhibition Periphery on display at the Reading Room at MAS Context between March 23 and June 3, 2023.
You can purchase the book from its publisher or your local bookstore:
→ Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture (Applied Research and Design Publishers, 2023).