The Geography of Reclamation
Can we access all meaning each time a word is used even as its meaning changes over time? Reclamation once meant not letting a drop of water go to waste and waste meant free flowing water to the sea. The meaning of these words would change, first by the environmental movement and later by the land artists of the 1960's and 70's to mean the process of recouping neglected or distressed landscapes. Geography of Reclamation is a short animated essay tracing these terms through the imprint of David Brower, Floyd Dominy, and Robert Smithson by way of the Colorado River Basin.
Antebi largely sees her work in critical dialogue with this past belief that land can only be valued in terms of its utilitarian function, a principle that became an aesthetic utilitarianism for the environmental artists of the 1960's and 70's. Unlike the mission of land reclamation or aesthetic utilitarianism, her work instead illuminates the problem of disappearing water in the context of these histories.
Nicole Antebi is a Los Angeles based artist and organizer, working mostly in video, installation, and animation, she has recently developed a series of animated documentaries which draw connections between the language, strategies, and mythologies surrounding so many of California's historical water wizards and moguls whose excessive vision led to calamitous ends. Recent projects include the anthology/website, entitled Water, CA: Creative Visualizations for a New Millennium (www.watercalifornia.org) co-edited with Enid Baxter Blader. The project was also the focus of a recent exhibition and festival at the Crocker Art Museum and will be the basis of an upcoming exhibition at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA, slated to open October 2012. Other recent projects include Pitch Battles, a multimedia performance at CSUMB with Colin Dickey and Chris Kallmyer, Ever Green, an exhibition embedded within Lara Bank's "Portable Forest" at Monte Vista Projects, and "And the Whale Said...," an impressionistic retelling of Moby Dick as a puppet show on a capsized ship at Machine Project (co-produced with Linda Wei).