Mahomet Aquifer Project
The Mahomet Aquifer Project, East Central Illinois, informed and engaged communities in East Central Illinois dependent on the Mahomet Aquifer through dance performances, panel discussions, new media, and workshops. Through conversations between performers and scientists Monson developed the choreography with an interdisciplinary approach, creating a multi-layered performance experience that draws the audience into their own understanding of their relationship to water. The movements evoke the forces and flows on the aquifer, ranging from geography and hydrology, to economics and history. Performances were presented at outdoor sites in Urbana/Champaign and Havana, IL. A mobile gallery exhibited new media images of the geology of the aquifer as well as the molecular behavior of water to enhance multiple ways of understanding our dependence on water and its local sources. Monson became interested in the Mahomet Aquifer as a site to "draw connections between our scientific and political relationships to natural resources and the cultural frameworks that shape our perception and relationship to these resources." The Mahomet Aquifer Project is informed by conversations with researchers at the Illinois Water Survey, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. In addition to six free public performances, the project also included movement and science workshops for students at Wiley Elementary School in Urbana with George Roadcap of the Illinois Water Survey and Jennifer Monson. A Panel Discussion "Moving Perspectives: Approaches to understanding water through geology, environment, art and society," took place at the Urbana Free Library. Panelists for the discussion included specialists from the Illinois Water Survey and Prairie Rivers Network; Brett Bloom, artist and activist; Brigit Kelly, poet; and Jennifer Monson. Environmental philosopher Michael Scoville moderated the panel. Associated organizations and artists include: Jennifer Monson, choreographer; Chris Cogburn, composer; Katrin Schnabl, designer; Illinois Water Survey, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology; the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.