You can lead people to water, but can you make them think about it? OpenBag, Lee Altman

Lee Altman’s work explores the connection of citizens in urban environments to their water and sewer systems. And it highlights the disconnect. Because people in general just don’t think about where their water comes from and then where it goes.  Lee’s work explores ways to foster engagement between people, the ecosystem and their water.  Lee took the reins at OpenBag to show us us what she’s been up to:

FlowCanyouseetheriver.org -  interactive and physical project Lee managed for artist Mary Miss to show the watershed area of the Indianapolis River and the city’s storm water and sewage system.  An online map shows points of curated interest through the city. Upon arrival at these points, mirror panels display text explaining the myriad componets of the water system in situ throughout the city.  Vistors can follow the points on their phones and discover in place how water makes it through pumps, pipers, resevoirs and stations to make it their homes and then back into nature.

+RainDrop is a mobile phone app which tracks all the pollutants a single raindrop absorbs on its way overland to the river. It was borne from FlowCanyouseetheriver.org.  The app, utilizing environmental data from the EPA and local land-use and evironemntal agencies, show historical pollutant data from  past uses of properties along the rain drop’s way.

+The Operative HydroSensus (OHS) project is designed to establish a new relationship between urban residents and their public waters. The OHS is a floating platform that combines bio-mimicry components to improve water quality with sensory technology that measures improvement and broadcasts it on multiple channels. Through a framework of communication and education the OHS will create a way for users to ‘talk to the river’ – receiving immediate information and understanding the effects that changes in the built environment such as catchment basins and green roofs can have on the health of the urban ecosystem.


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