Free Event

Art and Art History and Environmental Studies combine for an afternoon program of art and science celebrating our state's newly replenished water reserves, World Water Day 2023, and the North American western landscape as a place of resilience and change.

California’s recent cycle of drought and flood has brought home the point that extreme weather events are not just phenomena we experience in theory. They are literally happening in our backyards. In October of last year, 100% of the state was experiencing abnormally dry conditions and we were entering the third year of much lower-than-average precipitation. Three months later we have had nine atmospheric rivers course through the state, causing over 1 billion in flood damages and the deaths of over 20 people.

How can we better understand both ends of the water spectrum and address them as a community and as individuals? To the Extreme: Understanding Flood and Drought in California is a panel presentation from Environmental Studies and the Office of Sustainability@SJSU. Panelists will address this question and provide attendees with informed insight into how extreme water conditions impact our most vulnerable populations. They will also share what SJSU is doing to address its drought and flood risks and how our campus fared during the recent Bay Area flooding.

Please join us for the panel to learn more about the life of water and its many vicissitudes, then stay to enjoy Robin Lasser's short video artworks and photography with spoken performance, Swallowing Water/Breathing Fire at 3:15 pm. Lasser soothes us with her art, into digesting the complex relationships between fire and water, both the science and the corporal/emotive. Lasser’s artworks explore fire-scarred and flooded landscapes in the form of large-scale photographic postcards, 3D point cloud scans, thermal imaging, digital video, and bio-data sonification of surviving trees translated as a song. The work highlights the voices of those left standing. 

This piece is followed by special guests from the L&J Ranch (Prof. Joel Slayton and Dr. Lisa Johansen) connecting with us from their discrete location in Arizona at 4:15 pm The L&J ranch will talk about their project, The Gila River Project, which investigates one of America’s most endangered ecosystems. The 649-mile Gila River flows through New Mexico and Arizona encompassing a watershed area of 64,000 square miles. Named as America’s most endangered river in 2019, it persists despite the severe threats of climate change, and the demands of ranching, agriculture, mining, and recreational operations. Seen as a complex and dynamic system The Gila River Project aspires to illuminate the roles of environmental and human adaptation that shape the river’s future. The Gila River Project expands our knowledge of how this impacted region experiences climate change and introduces us to the concept of 'eco plasticity' through which the system survives.

Guest speakers: Dr. Katherine Cushing, Dr. Costanza Rampini, Debbie Andres, Robin Lasser, Joel Slayton, Lisa Johanson. 

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