In 2014, Habithèque worked with the FWWIC to imagine and execute Fairmount Water Works’ First FLOW Festival. For the Love of Water (FLOW) provided a platform for ephemeral public sculpture and performance. We worked with 17 artists to create a site-specific, single day, pop-up water festival that provided a series of art activations exploring the magic of connections between sound and water. Each installation located on the historic decks of the Fairmount Water Works was designed to be touched, played, listened to, acted out, built collectively, or tossed into the river, and was impacted by 600 visitors through a day of evolution. The festival attracted new faces to the Fairmount Water Works-- close to 67% of festival attendees identified themselves as first time visitors!
This project was one of several public events designed to spectacularly activate the site and provide a source of inspiration for the development of this open-ended, playful and intriguing direction for the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. This bold visitor experience is reflective of the FWW today, an update that exists in collaboration with the significant work of Philadelphia Waters' Public Affairs Department.
Habithèque was the lead curator of the event, joining forces with Lee Tussman. We planned and facilitated all aspects of the day’s events and created unique public outreach PR with pop-up prototype sessions prior to the festival, offering a sneak peak to parent bloggers.
Pop-up installations included a kinetic sculpture by Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber, an interactive fishway by Kathryn Sclavi, a dance performance choreographed by Alie Vidich, and more. In Will Owen’s piece, Drip Drums, visitors control the flow of melting drips from chunks of frozen river water, as they fall onto steel drums hanging below. The steel drums are also mobile, and tuned to the same musical key, which allows for the creation of improvised and collaborative musical compositions. Lee Tusman’s Splash Organ also facilitated musical interaction, with tanks of water acting as circuits that could be connected through the bodies of visitors to release electronic sounds.
FLOW Fest culminated in a multi-disciplinary evening finale that included performance art, dance and a large-scale architectural projection. As the sun set over the Schuylkill River Dam, Brett Keyser performed Ode to Water— a theatrical performance in which the audience was invited to honor the Schuylkill River. This moving piece was followed by a four-person dance performance by Hidden River, where performers intertwined through the crowd under the historic Fairmount Water Works pavilion, transformed for the evening by a watery light installation that filled the entire space. The finale concluded with a large-scale architectural projection produced by Greenhouse Media on the facades of both entrance houses of the historic complex. Evocative imagery integrated with text from the poem “Rising” from the book Flow by Beth Kephart and an original soundscape by Blair Brothers Music.