Tracing Our Mississippi will be an interactive installation and public programming series at the site of the Columbus Pump House, on a terrace adjacent to the Flatrock River. By representing the Mississippi Watershed as a large-scale, abstracted model (composed as a set of moveable pieces), and complimented by a series of large-format drawings drawn at multiple scales, the installation emphasizes the relentless infrastructures controlling the Mississippi’s landscapes, communities, and resources. Hoeferlin’s project in Columbus and ongoing research presents the question: Is the Mississippi Watershed really a watershed anymore?
Tracing Our Mississippi answers by literally and physically engaging people in a new understanding of the vast territorial scales of the fourth largest watershed in the world. The installation and programming planned for Fall 2021 asks: What does it mean to empower all of us to question our past methods of control and power, with the hope of re-establishing new, collective understandings, in turn connecting all of us across ecological and cultural geographies? What would mean to re-trace our Mississippi?
Derek Hoeferlin is associate professor and chair of the landscape architecture and urban design programs at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level multidisciplinary approaches to architecture, landscape, infrastructure, and urbanism. He collaboratively researches integrated water-based design strategies across the Mississippi, Mekong, and Rhine river basins through his design-research project "Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture," the focus of his book (Applied Research + Design Publishers, 2021). Derek is principal of [dhd] derek hoeferlin design, an award-winning architecture, landscape, and urban design practice.