Indie Grits 2016  |  Waterlines Artist

in collaboration with Susan Lenz and Dr. Jerry Griggs

April 2016  |  Columbia, SC


Over the course of a few weeks, the October 2015 flooding that ravaged South Carolina compromised vital infrastructure and entire residential areas. As with other modern disasters, social media proved indispensable in directing assistance, distributing supplies, and connecting displaced family and friends. Now in South Carolina's time of healing, social media wields another critical purpose: helping us process.

We can't get the whole picture, but the personal posts of individuals across the state afford us a powerful glimpse at the collective response to the flood. Flooded makes use of the video posts included in the Columbia Flood Archive provided by The Nickelodeon Theatre. The videos were published on YouTube, Instagram, or Vine during the month of October containing keywords or hashtags associated with the SC Flood.

The goals of Flooded are:

1. to represent the collective response to the flood graphically so underlying patterns may be interpreted using visual language as well as scientific language

2. to facilitate interpersonal connection within the South Carolina community and the attendees of Indie Grits, in part by providing access to the rich archive of firsthand accounts from across the state

To achieve both, it was critical to design a space in which people could openly share their stories and relative perspectives. The graphical component is thus rendered sculpturally, with each video post being represented by an LED monofilament plotted in 3D space according to engagement, date, and video length. The videos themselves are navigable via category on iPad, with the individual social media posts being projected across two walls of the room.

In tandem, the two elements weave an environment of reflection and new connection, a meeting place for processing tragedy but also celebrating the resounding hopefulness invoked by the brave assistance efforts carried out by service teams and citizens South Carolina over. Most imperatively, Flooded acts as an invitation for people to come together and share an experience.