Water Gold Soil: American River represents a river in present-day California. Yet, this river hovers between the real and the allegorical, the present and the past. It begins as the South Fork of the American River and flows southwest through multiple dams into the Sacramento. It spills into the Delta only to be extracted by pumps and pushed towards the Central Valley for the benefit of large-scale agriculture. This is the flow of water in which gold was first discovered in California, and the project explores how the violent and colonial beginnings of the state of California continue to haunt it.  Nearly all rivers in the state are dammed. The water is owned and apportioned as soon as it comes out of the ground. This river, therefore, is part of a system of water management. All water in this system is rendered as a commodity – what Heidegger called a “standing reserve,” albeit a reserve in increasingly short supply due to climate change and real estate development.


The project consists of an ongoing assembly of original photographic and video works, archival images, writing, maps and other media. A book of the project will be published by Conveyor Editions in 2019.