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MORE THAN 2,000,000 kentuckians depend on groundwater every day.


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MORE THAN 2,000,000 kentuckians depend on groundwater every day.


Families, farms...our entire economy, not to mention myriad ecologies, depend on groundwater. Yet little is known about the water that runs beneath the Bluegrass:

How much is there? What aquifers are susceptible to contamination? Why?
How does this effect us? And how do our everyday actions impact the quality
of groundwater?


Together, we can answer these questions.

 
An estimated 93,600 households or more than 234,000 Kentuckians are not connected to a public water system. Photo of Shawnetell Allenee Combs in front of her home in Jackson, Kentucky courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

An estimated 93,600 households or more than 234,000 Kentuckians are not connected to a public water system. Photo of Shawnetell Allenee Combs in front of her home in Jackson, Kentucky courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

In Kentucky, farmers use groundwater to harvest 85,000 acres of tobacco each year. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2012. Photo of Tucker Farms in Finchville, KY courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

In Kentucky, farmers use groundwater to harvest 85,000 acres of tobacco each year. National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2012. Photo of Tucker Farms in Finchville, KY courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

In 2014,  Kentucky distillers used groundwater to produce 1,000,000 barrels of bourbon. Lexington-Herald Leader, 2015. Photo of Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

In 2014,  Kentucky distillers used groundwater to produce 1,000,000 barrels of bourbon. Lexington-Herald Leader, 2015. Photo of Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY courtesy of Luke Sharrett.

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Livestream


Kentucky's 1st Integrated Groundwater Monitoring Network

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Livestream


Kentucky's 1st Integrated Groundwater Monitoring Network

Groundwater changes as the environment around it changes. Over the last 30 years, Kentucky has changed—our population and economy have grown, along with our demand for and degradation of ground water.

Yet given that we can't see the water that runs beneath the Bluegrass, it's difficult to imagine how our everyday actions effect this valuable resource.

By harnessing the power of art, science and technology, Livestream actively engages individuals, organizations and businesses across Kentucky in the cultivation of our water ways.

Each aspect of this innovative platform for civic engagement is designed to raise environmental awareness, literacy and accountability...from the ground, up!

 

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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Awareness


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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Awareness


In order to have a responsible relationship with the world, as environmental activist and author Wendell Berry notes, we must be able to imagine our places in it. To this end,

Livestream makes the invisible, visible...and audible.

How? By translating groundwater data from across Kentucky into interactive soundscapes that manifest as public art installations—the first of which is being constructed in Lexington's Jacobson Park!

You see, this maze of pipes is actually an invitation to engage with the vast network of people, places, policies and practices that construct Kentucky's water ways. Each pipe represents 1 of 3 springs in different physiographic regions of the state.

Using a custom-designed sonification toolkit, the Livestream sculpture translates data measuring each spring's conductivity, temperature and flow into sound. These sounds are composed by local musicians, beginning with Ben Sollee!

The volume of sounds is contingent upon individuals' engagement—move toward a pipe and the volume increases, move away and the volume decreases. So, walking through the park, folks literally play the ground!

By bringing individuals in direct dialogue with the water that runs beneath the Bluegrass, Livestream challenges perceptions of this vast, albeit primarily [in]visible, infrastructure.

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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Literacy


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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Literacy


Like groundwater, data is an integral part of our everyday lives. We eat, sleep and dream data. But do we really understand the facts and figures we produce?

Beyond raising awareness, Livestream aims to expand our environmental literacy by serving as an innovative analytic tool for the exploration of our water ways.

As theorist and technologist, Lev Manovich points out: the rise of tools that process data make possible fundamentally new ways to understand the world and our places in it.

Using an intuitive interface inspired by DJ decks to create original soundtracks, folks exploring Livestream's interactive online archive will be able to see and hear how Kentucky's water ways change over time. By mashing up sounds ⁄data, people can compare and contrast, for example, groundwater temperatures in the Bluegrass with those in the Pennyroyal or Kentucky Coalfields.

Integrated into this playful investigation will be facts, figures and questions that [dis]assemble our water ways as an environmental as well as economic and social practice.

The resulting rhythms and dissonance have the potential to provoke novel interpretations and, ultimately, innovations toward the sustainment of Kentucky's groundwater.

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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Accountability


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Toward ENVIRONMENTAL Accountability


Like Livestream's public art installations and online archive, the project's educational outreach programs invite folks from a diversity of disciplines and demographics to tune in to the Bluegrass.

How? By design. Or, more specifically, interaction, experimentation and adaptation. Integrating cultural theory with creative practices from such fields as art, science and sociology, each program offers individuals innovative tools and tactics for investigating, [dis]assembling and [re]framing water as a dynamic network of human and non-human agents.

Tuning In To The Bluegrass: A University of Kentucky Water Week Workshop. Lexington, KY: 2015.

Livestream empowers individuals as artists, designers, geologist...and community organizers so that, together, we can begin to construct more sustainable water ways for our common wealth.

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PUBLICWORKS


in collaboration with the Kentucky Geological Survey

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PUBLICWORKS


in collaboration with the Kentucky Geological Survey

Our water ways are complex. In order to understand this vast network of agents and infrastructures, Public Works—a design-led research collaborative—brings together folks from a diversity of disciplines and demographics, including:

 

KIERSTEN
NASH

Designer

 

Kiersten believes passionately in the power of creativity—the power to ask: why? what if...? and how might we...? In 2013, she founded Public Works as a platform for catalyzing creative civic engagement by expanding the capacities of individuals and organizations to understand how they can and do impact their environment—be it a patch of grass, park or public policy.

 

BEN
SOLLEE

Composer

 

Ben tells stories. By translating his experiences into poignant melodies, he communicates across cultures. “In the end, that’s what folk music is all about— each of us telling our own story.”

 

BART
DAVIDSON

Geologist

 

From bag pipes and banjo to hydrogeology, Bart is a jack-of-all trades. At the Kentucky Geological Survey, he manages the Groundwater Data Repository.

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SEAN
MONTGOMERY

Creative Technologist

 

As a transmedia artist and engineer with a PhD in neuroscience, Sean builds innovative technologies to understand the human condition from a diversity of perspectives. His mantra? Build, break, learn…repeat.

 

JON
POPE

Contractor

 

As a LEED-certified builder and DSNY Master Composter, Jon could just as easily be found planting a pylon as a pepper. For details regarding how to build your own composter, check out Jon’s chapter in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Easy Compost Handbook.

 

ZACK
KAISER

Consultant

 

Sampling from the languages of design and music-making, Zach's work ranges from digital research tools and services to physical products intended to subvert the influence of algorithmic inference on our lives.

BLAND
HOKE

Artist

 

Where most see outdated infrastructure or underutilized space, Bland sees opportunities for innovation. He's a MacGyver of sorts who can take a simple idea, roll up his sleeves and physically construct a wonderland around it.

 

DAN
MARWIT

Writer

 

Some people have a way with words, Dan has myriad. He works closely with individuals and organizations to identify the elusive who, what and why in order to determine the how…and then, makes it happen. 

 
 

...and you?

Absolutely! There are many ways you can contribute to the development of more sustainable water ways. 

Join the team. Drop us a line and tell us how your unique ideas, skills or experiences will expand our capacity to raise environmental awareness, literacy and accountability from the ground, up!

Or donate. Your tax-deductible donation will contribute to the development of Kentucky's first integrated groundwater monitoring network.

Simply click on the 'Donate' button and you'll be connected to Eventbrite. Tune in to the Bluegrass with Ben Sollee & Friends on May 29th. Or, if you're unable to attend, but would like to support the project, click on 'Get Tickets' and reserve '0' seats. Your tax-exempt contribution will directly support the development of Livestream.

 

Or stay tuned. Send us your email and we'll share developments as Livestream unfolds as well as related opportunities and actions.