Creek Show 2016 is just around the corner, and this year you’ll have 10 nights to see the amazing art and light installations downtown along Waller Creek. The show is designed to highlight Waller Creek and its future transformation into a series of urban parks. Now The Waller Creek Conservancy is previewing five new artist installations that will be illuminating the creek from November 10–19. The free, public art exhibit begins with the opening night event on Thursday, November 10 at 6 p.m. All designers participating in the 2016 event are Austin-based architects, landscape architects, and visual artists.
This year Creek Show 2016 will offer an expanded children’s program with kid-focused programming from partners like The Thinkery and Austin Bat Cave on a number of nights. Visitors can use their wristbands to receive all kinds of wonderful benefits from surrounding restaurants, music venues, and more.
The first night will include a DJ set along the creek and drink specials available at Easy Tiger, The Gatsby, Waller Creek Pub House, and more. Other confirmed events for Creek Show 2016 include Monster Bash, hosted by Generation Waller on November 11, and an Artist Talk on November 15 at The Palm Door on Sabine from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the CreekShow 2016 designers discussing their work in relation to Waller Creek. The Artist Talk will be moderated by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, veteran arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. A closing party on November 19 will begin with live music along Waller Creek and continue at Barracuda with dance lessons and a local line-up of country music.
Below, check out designs of this year’s jaw-dropping installations. Downtown is about to get a lot more magical!
Project name: Nimbus Cloud
Design: Dharmesh Patel, Associate AIA | Autumn Ewalt, Artist
About: “Nimbus Cloud” resembles a rain cloud and is a reflection on the vitality of Waller Creek and the nature that surrounds it. Cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouds produce precipitation. The creek acts as a watershed by collecting this precipitation from an area of 6 miles and meandering its way to Town Lake. “Nimbus Cloud” signifies one of the primary sources of Waller Creek today. Using programmable LEDs installed within the sculpture, abstracted imagery collected from Waller Creek and the areas surrounding the watershed will be conveyed onto the cloud. The water beneath the sculpture will mirror this ephemeral phenomena, creating a parallel that reflects the relationship between the creek and the environment.
Design: Tim Derrington, AIA & Lead AP | Wilson Hanks, AIA | Christian Klein, Owner of Drophouse
About: At this particular site, between 5th and 6th Streets along Waller Creek, stained concrete walls drop down to a soupy pool. Guardrails line the tops of retaining walls to form a viewing platform where visitors can peer into the murky waters below. There is no flora or fauna, there are no rocks to generate surface distortions, not even graffiti to mark the walls surrounding this urban trench. The experience here is a downward gaze and the viewer is left to wonder about the nature of the place. It is an unfinished space, partly natural, partly man-made. “Deep Curiosity” offers an alternative to the void—a view to the enlivened, complete Waller Creek experience that we know is imminent. A partially submerged, larger-than-life circular form finds its delicate balance in the murky water like an object from the future civilization. The scale of this inwardly glowing round form lifts the viewers’ eyes and imagination up and around. With no beginning and no end, the ring offers a glimpse of something whole and total, through which the full spatial possibility of this place is imagined. The depth of the dark abyss will be called to attention as well, as the massive ring is half submerged, allowing reality and illusion to coalesce and complete an object whose form and scale exist to encourage delight and epiphany with the use of curved steel and LED lighting. The object offers viewers a careful array of elements balanced precariously yet precisely in its place on WallerCreek, suggesting a future site where perfection is possible.
Project name: Invisible and Absolute
Design: Jules Buck Jones, Artist
About: “Invisible and Absolute” is a sculpture of an extinct sea lizard called a mosasaur, commissioned specifically for Waller Creek Conservancy’s 2016 Creek Show. Mosasaurs swam through the shallow sea that covered Central Texas 100 –65 million years ago. In 1935, an almost complete skeleton was found in Onion Creek by UT geology students and is now on exhibit at the Texas Memorial Museum on the UT campus. When asked to create a piece for Creek Show, Jules Buck Jones immediately thought of this extinct animal swimming in the form of a skeleton, offering a little bit of history and the façade of fantasy. Extinct creatures like the mosasaur are simultaneously very real and very not, only present today in the form of fossilized bone. “Invisible and Absolute” asks the question: What is scarier? A 40’ monster or extinction itself?
Project name: The Creek Zipper
Design: Kory Bieg, AIA
About: “The Creek Zipper” is a series of interconnected units that form zipper-like strands. Each unit varies depending on the width of the strand creating a dynamic overall geometry that ebbs and flows much like the water level of the creek itself. Though the water level will stabilize once the Tunnel Project is complete, the level will still rise and drop within manageable limits. Each unit will be raised on adjustable pedestal so the flat bottom of the unit will coincide with the average water level. When the water level is below average, the water will pass below the strands and be only minimally affected by the legs that support the units. When the water level rises above average, the water will interact with the folded geometry of each unit causing a turbulent flow. The distortion of water as it rises reflects the devastation that used to occur during floods. “The Creek Zipper” is an array of arrays. The project consists of a number of a strands that extend the length of the creek between the 6th Street Bridge and the 3 concrete steps that span the river between 6th and 7th Street. The strands are free-flowing and occasionally intersect and join one another to form larger strands. Each strand varies from the others, differing in length and width. The strands are made up of an array of CNC-milled aluminum units that connect to form the overall zipper. The units and strands are part of an assemblage that favors neither whole or part. The entire project, each strand, and each unit can be read as whole in and of itself, calling to question the hierarchical part/whole relationship that has traditionally dominated art and architecture for much of their histories. Though the strands and units are similar to each other and have the same generic properties, the specific geometry of each one is unique as a result of its association with the overall assemblage, its location on the site, and how it joins with neighboring units.
Project name: Phantom Diversion
Design: Alisa West, Landscape Designer | Travis Cook, Designer
About: Their vision for Creek Show 2016 (Phantom Diversion) is an analysis and interpretation of a particular intersection between the natural and built environment. Currently, there are a series of exposed, above-grade diversion pipes that will later be functionally supplanted by the intake station at 4th Street, at which time they will be removed. These paired diversion pipes are approximately 18” in diameter and are held in place by a series of caliche packed mounds that anchor and direct the pipe within the natural creek bed. Our design seeks to bring to attention these temporal, infrastructural elements, and to reveal their mundane beauty through a linear series of glowing circular elements. The arrangement of these elements will undulate, swell, and distort based on site-specific data. Formally, the piece will serve as a visual linking agent between the additional Creek Show exhibits and the overall Creek Show site.