Somehow both expansive and dense, the lock at the Upper St. Anthony Falls is of course outside, but feels somehow interior, almost internal.  Its’ tall walls and liquid floor struggle to even define much less confine this dense space.  With the lower gates permanently open, its’ imposing presence is constantly visible from the historic Stone Arch Bridge standing as a testament to the utilitarian history of this great river.

Taking data from the extensive logbooks kept by the staff of the Army Corp of Engineering over the years, Surface spoke to the times this space was filled with the Mississippi River.  Data derived from handwritten pool heights dictated a constant shifting background color while the color intensity spoke to the times the lock was emptied or filled with the river allowing for navigation of the falls.  This spectacle thus displayed the 52 year operating history of this central iconic Minneapolis space through data recorded by the people who tended it.

Lighting Designer: Kyle Waites

This project was supported and presented as part of Here & There: Rethinking Public Spaces, The Soap Factory’s 2017 public programming. Rethinking Public Spaces presents artist projects that enliven underutilized spaces throughout Minnesota, rethinking public space and considering what it means to place-make through a contemporary, celebratory, and critical lens.

Also Presented by Northern Lights.mnMississippi Park Connection, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area,  with support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Special Thanks to project interns, Mackenzie Catton and Vatina McLaurin