Connecting Greensboro's South Elm Neighborhood to it's hydrosocial landscape.
The South Elm Water Bar was commissioned for Elsewhere’s South Elm Projects curatorial initiative to offer new ways to see and understand Elsewhere’s South Elm neighborhood and downtown environment. It focused on the non-human, natural dimensions that contribute to the formation of the neighborhood, drawing attention to the way that water and society interact and inform one another, and the ways water moves through built and social environments.
At its simplest, South Elm Water Bar is a bar that serves local tap water and provides bar goers with an opportunity to contemplate their connections to water with a group of convivial bar tenders through story-sharing and casual conversation. The physical and symbolic platform for the project is a multi-purpose mobile Water Bar that was fabricated from locally sourced materials with the assistance of Ian Gamble and Cora Outling.
Included with the bar is a series of plaques with engraved maps of the Cape Fear River Basin and Haw River Watershed, reminding bar goers of their hydrologic location. For the project’s opening events during Elsewhere’s First Friday, the bar was stationed at the museum and staffed by representatives from Greensboro’s Water Resources Department, as well as students from Guilford College’s Cape Fear River Basin Project. These Water Tenders discussed where drinking water comes from in Greensboro, elements that contribute to its taste, and how to protect local water sources. To accompany the launch, Works Progress produced and distributed 1000 silkscreen prints of water drops around Greensboro. On the back side of each drop, there was a watershed map and information honoring the role that water plays in sustaining life in the city.