Aurora is a matrix of identical luminaires suspended over Waller Creek. Each column of light is an autonomous element that is linked to the whole: individually responding to specific sounds and movements while simultaneously operating within a single procedurally generated sequence. With every flash of light or quiver of sound, the grid comes alive, an ever changing constellation that plays through the creek bed. In this manner, AURORA occupies the site and displays the capacity of a place to simultaneously shape, but also be shaped by its environment. Like Waller Creek itself, AURORA lies somewhere between order and chaos, infrastructure and nature, intention and accident.
by Design Workshop
Hongsheng (Neo) Geng
Downstream Upcycle uses more than 17,000 hotel shampoo bottles and repurposes them into a colorful wave of glowing lanterns. Our interest in these bottles stems from the symbolism they carry for the rapidly growing tourism economy in Austin surrounding Waller Creek—roughly representing the amount used by downtown hotels within one day. The bottles have been filled with a UV-reactive dye to glow under black light and are attached to 100 recycled metal barrels sourced from the community.
By recontextualizing materials like this commonly entering local landfills, the installation highlights the challenges of current waste management practices and their impacts on Waller Creek. Words like watershed, downstream and upstream describe both the hydrologic system of our city and the cradle-to-grave movement of objects as they are made, acquired and discarded or repurposed. We hope that visitors leave with a visual understanding of the products we consume and the impact they have long after their use has ended.
Special thanks to the generosity of local hotels for collection: Sheraton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Hilton.
by Nelsen Partners
Lindsay Abati, AIA
Johanna Spencer, AIA
Once Upon A Time…
An Austinite, traveler of waters, got lost in the beauty of the creek and went missing.
To this day, nobody knows their whereabouts, but on a quiet misty morning, you can hear the sound of paddles dipping into the water and a ghostly glow in the distance.
To re-connect with the lost history of Waller Creek, we used our own folk tale to evoke the feeling of a bygone era and inspire contemplation of the role the creek has played in Austin’s past. We were inspired by themes that are integral to Austin’s identity; natural beauty, music and water. In collaboration with our fabrication partners, Mother Built, we wanted to inspire awe with the vision of glowing paddles rowing along the creek, unmanned and mysterious. In partnership with local musicians, guesthouse and SlowBurst, we developed a soundscape to help create an immersive experience for creek visitors.
by Norma + Sunny
Norma Yancey, AIA
Light House challenges the visitor’s notion of what a wall is. We break down the “wall” by physically changing it into something that is as minimal as possible: curtains of light. The entrance to the house is clearly marked with an opening that serves as a doorway. Once inside, doorways diminish and then disappear. Visitors are drawn into successive rooms by different colors and obscured views of visitors in other rooms. The only way forward is by moving through the walls. What if we saw other boundaries in our life in the same way? Obstacles that feel impassable become something we can move through.
m e a n d e r
m e a n d e r is envisioned as a fissure in a supernatural aquifer. Like water in underground caves, flows of visitors have symbolically eroded and carved a whimsical passageway. The installation is tactile and playful, encouraging people to walk through the dangling tendrils within the cave. Meander transforms a lifeless piece of infrastructure into a mystical and captivating experience. Creating a moment for discovery and wonderment, meander subtly reveals the invisible forces responsible for the natural features that all Austinites cherish.
by Boka Powell
String Theory explores the unity of light and water in a unique and colorful way. The piece continuously twists reflecting life’s unexpected journeys. Harmonious strings mimic the soft flow of Waller Creek as the water reflects the vibrant colors back. This interplay between light and water symbolizes life’s road: it is filled with dark spots, yet is illuminated with dazzling colors that create the kaleidoscope we call life. String Theory creates a unified and playful walkway for all to experience.
Creek Show 2019 Selection Committee
Meredith Bossin, Director of Engagement of Waterloo Greenway
Louis Grachos, Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin
Chris Mattsson, Waller Creek Conservancy Board / The Contemporary Austin Board
Carla Nickerson, Visual Artist, Vocalist, & Actor / Community Engagement Specialist for Austin Convention Center Department+
Ingrid Spencer, Artistic Director of Creek Show / Executive Director of AIA Austin
Daniel Woodroffe, president and founder of dwg.
Herlinda Zamora, Executive Director of The Mexican American Cultural Center