Bow Flow 1 and Bow Flow 2 - Public Artwork

Title of Artwork: Bow Flow 1 and Bow Flow 2
Artist: Rachel Duckhouse

Bow Flow is a large diptych that maps Calgary’s Bow River as it travels through a section of Southeast Calgary. Using two layers of marks, Duckhouse reveals two very different rivers – a black ink layer depicts the water flow in spring 2013 and the sepia marks represent the flow during the flood in June 2013.

Over the course of a year, Rachel Duckhouse worked as an artist in residence through The City of Calgary’s WATERSHED+ Artist Residency program. During her residency, Duckhouse worked out of the Water Centre, Ralph Klein Park and TELUS Spark, where she learned about flow dynamics, water, engineering and environmental protection. The drawings were made in consultation with various City employees whose stories, memories, photographs and data helped her understand how water moves around architecture, banks and bridges and to visualize the river’s flow under normal circumstances and flood events.

Rachel Duckhouse is an award winning UK based visual artist. Her work explores the complex patterns and systems in nature, human behaviour and the built environment. She works in a range of media including printmaking, drawing and sound. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Canada, USA and the UK, including the Royal Academy in London and the National Gallery in Edinburgh, and included in the collections of the British Museum in London and The City of Calgary’s Public Art Collection. Duckhouse lives and works in Glasgow, UK and is the 2014 Associate Artist at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. The City of Calgary WATERSHED+ Artist Residency Program with Rachel Duckhouse was recently recognized by the Public Art Network as one of the top public art projects in North America at the Americans for the Arts Annual Conference in 2014.

Calgary Flows

Calgary Flows is a series of conversations Duckhouse had with City engineers and staff, as well as a recording of her conversation with a couple who lost their apartment during the flood.

In the Moment
Four people describe where they were during the June 2013 flood event.

The Character of the River
Describing how the personality of the Bow River changed in June 2013. Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment staff and City Water Engineer.

A Definite Straight Pattern
Talking about how to draw the flood layer of Bow Flow with Planning Engineer.

A Whole Bunch of Different Dynamics
City Water Engineers talking about managing a natural resource within an urban centre, with canals, water treatment etc…. Engineered vs natural water flow through a city.

I Don’t Eat Duck
Discussing the unfinished Bow Flow drawings with Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment staff (technical and non technical).

Perfect in its Imperfectness
Discussing the unfinished Bow Flow drawings with Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment staff (technical and non technical).

I Was Just Working
Planning Engineer describing her experience during the June 2013 flood event.

Slowly Slowly Slowly
Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment Chief Operator describing the June 2013 flood event at the facility.

Some Sort of Physics
Discussing the unfinished Bow Flow drawings with Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment staff (technical and non technical).

The Flow’s Still Going On
Conversation with Bonnybrook Chief Operator describing flow of water during the flood event

Water Flowing Underground
Bonnybrook Waste Water Treatment staff discussing the unfinished Bow Flow drawing, with singing.

104 23 Ave SW
Conversations with a couple describing the flood flowing though their Calgary basement apartment.

The remarkable body of work she created in print, drawing and audio, visualize the infinitely dynamic flow of energy within our rivers, and are testament to her in-depth collaborations with senior flood engineers, scientists, school children, institutions and organizations. The sensitive and powerful way her work bore witness to the catastrophic 2013 floods through exhibitions, events and artist talks, continues to hold poignant and historic significance for The City. 

– Sans façon, WATERSHED+ Lead Artists