Speaking Tributaries is a collaborative project focusing on water and memory. 


Speaking Tributaries is a hyper-local, community focused participatory art project focusing on water and memory. The project began in September of 2013 and originally focused on Oakland’s Sausal Creek. Since that time, we have presented research-based work on the Hetch Hetchy and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Currently we are developing a project at Mission Creek in San Francisco, which will be presented at the AICAD conference at California College of the Arts in November. 

Iterations of Speaking Tributaries have been publicly presented throughout the Bay Area. We have staged two public water performance-rituals at Sausal Creek during the Spring and Fall equinoxes of 2014. Film screenings, installations and events have been presented at Artists’ Television Access, the California Academy of Sciences, and at the InSolution Symposium at California College of the Arts. In March of 2015 we held Echoes at Dimond Park. This day-long event featured video installation, participatory performance, storytelling, and an ice instrument installed directly in Sausal Creek, and was free and open to park visitors.  In July, as part of the monthly performance series ConVerge, we transformed the Grand Lobby of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts into an ambient reservoir of images and sound. This event was the debut performance of "Aqua Nocturne No. 167: Movements I-V in C minor" (175.68 mins), whose score was developed using researched histories of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and cartographic renderings of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This event also featured violist Georgia Cabrone and Water Tarot readings by Mali Scott. 

Our community partners are Friends of Sausal Creek and Oakland Parks and Recreation, and our fiscal sponsor is Fractured Atlas. This project would not be possible without a generous grant from the Open Circle Foundation or the generous participation of residents of the former Salem Lutheran Home.

Speaking Tributaries is made possible by generous support from the Open Circle Foundation and Fractured Atlas



The Ice Instrument in Sausal Creek at Echoes

On March 22, 2015, Speaking Tributaries presented Echoes, a day long event at Dimond Park in Oakland. For an afternoon, the park was transformed into a multimedia experience. Visitors passed through various meditations on water and memory meant to evoke both individual and collective perceptions of place, history, and environment. Documentation of this event is available here.

What's next for speaking tributaries: the hetch hetchy reservoir and mission creek

Inside the Projection Booth.

Speaking Tributaries is thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our project to address larger water systems, including the Hetch Hetchy, the Sacrament-San Joaquin Delta, and Mission Creek, among others. Find documentation and information about our performance at YBCA here. Find information about our performance at the AICAD Symposium in November here.




Our cover image is a closeup of a map of Oakland, Alameda and Vicinity, Published by M.G. King C.E. in 1876. It is housed by the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. For more information visit www.davidrumsey.com