Waller Creek: a cherished and vital ecosystem that exists within the growing urban fabric of the city of Austin, Texas. Having been a waterway that has been tested and neglected, watchful eyes and passionate individuals continually fight to preserve and revive the character of this special stream. Waller Creek is constantly faced with ecological challenges, affecting the water quality and the lives of those dependent on it: our creatures and wildlife. One such resident is the Texas Blind Snake, whose life is spent buried within the soil, only to emerge when water levels rise due to occasional flooding.
Our installation, CREEKTURE, is a sculptural metaphor for the Texas Blind Snake. Just as the blind snake appears during flooding, CREEKTURE rises from the dampened soil of the creek bed before receding back into the murky depths of the earth, allowing spectators a brief glimpse of this elusive creature. CREEKTURE is a gentle, yet evocative reminder of the creatures that quietly live within Waller Creek. We may not always see them, but we must remember that we are simply visitors of their habitat; we must respect their home just as we respect our own.
Our physical interpretation of this creature is expressed by marrying two opposite formal geometries. Similar to how the fauna of Waller Creek struggle to thrive amongst the urbanization of our city, CREEKTURE is a dichotomy of two contrasting forms, that while converging, are simultaneously growing further apart. As the skeletal, rib-like portion of CREEKTURE makes its tepid appearance above the surface, the more ethereal form gracefully rises out of the soil and makes its rightful stance against those who endanger its habitat.
This dichotomy of forms highlights the complex relationship we have with the natural world. While it’s possible for urbanization and human experience to coexist with one of our city’s most cherished natural features, we all too often forget that stewardship and conservation are key to ensuring Waller Creek will continue to be a vibrant, ecologically sound resource for Austinites of the future. CREEKTURE strives to serve as that reminder.
CREEKTURE utilizes a simple yet effective construction system. The acrylic panels are notched onto a prefabricated spine. This spine has a groove which allows for installation of a motion LED. The wooden ribs are connected to a secondary pre-fabricated structural profile using pin connections. Both systems sit on a steel frame that gently rests onto the site grounds.
CREEKTURE represents the shy hidden creatures that live amongst us, breaking from the darkness in poetic motion and sculptural dance. The acrylic is lit using motion LEDs that cycle through the length of the sculpture, representative of a heartbeat, appearing and disappearing into the creek’s soil. The wooden ribs release a soft glow onto the earth, creating a sculptural contrast. In the moments of darkness, the metal ribs will always be visible and become even more exemplified as the acrylic panels light up with colorful energy. Our proposed site, which is a meandering journey through the park’s foliage, will be supplemented with soft path lights that will pulse in unison with CREEKTURE to create the illusion of a entering this creature’s habitat. As CREEKTURE beats, so does its environment; a reminder that we are visitors of the creek, a home to creatures living beneath the surface.