River-Rising is a 4-channel video installation with a score for 11 wind instruments by composer Scott D. Miller. Imagery from three river estuaries (the Garonne River, the Bilbao Estuary, the Hudson River) is woven into the fabric of the video channels. Also interspersed throughout the channels are recurring rhythmic passages of nighttime illumination from the Venice Lagoon. The large-scale installation conveys a tactile intimacy with these bodies of water. While principally abstract, the gradually changing images emphasize perceptual experience. The rivers’ mirror-like surfaces reflect their surroundings, illuminating relationships and luring us to identify with the river as a living organism.
Believing ourselves as separate from nature, we live in a world of unintended consequences. Close observation deepens our connection to the environment. This connection is underlined by the music: it is continuous and by turns, buoyant and ominous.
Each channel (including the audio) is of varied lengths that play as individual loops. Because the channels are non-synchronized, viewers experience ever-changing compositions. In continuous play, any configuration of all five channels will not repeat for approximately 11 years. The music is performed by the Tilted Head Ensemble, conducted by Carl Bettendorf. I began this project in October 2019 at Moulin à Nef, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts artists' residency program on the Garonne River in Auvillar, France.