River Construct, is an indoor composting and plant growing unit that attempts to reproduce a natural system. It is based on the model of a river, which is alternately fed and cleansed by a variety of organisms along its path. The artificial river I have constructed flows vertically, up and down a utility ladder, feeding and watering lettuces and herbs in a succession of buckets resting on the rungs. Like a river, the inputs to this system are sunlight and organic waste. Left-over food scraps and rabbit poop are put into a bucket, which are eaten by worms, who convert the waste into nutrients that flow through the water to the growing plants. The sunlight from a window helps the plants grow and also charges the solar-powered battery that drives a water pump inside a water reservoir at the base of the ladder. Small mosquito fish also live in the water basin, eating any mosquito larvae and excess algae growing in the system. A domestic rabbit lives in an enclosure nearby to provide poop to the system. To conserve energy, this artificial river’s pump is on a timing cycle that turns on the flow every 45 minutes.

This project was exhibited at the RedLine Gallery in Denver, CO from July 5 – Aug 11 2010. In the exhibition Artists’ Footprints, curated by Viviane Le Courtois. A catalog of the exhibition is available online here.

“Artists’ Footprints explores the boundaries of art and life through innovative systems of creation and production. Throughout this exhibition, artists compost, grow, reuse, and gather supplies to reduce their carbon footprint. Inspired by simple ways of living and creating across the world from Ecuador to Mongolia, artists offer alternatives to over-consumption.”

Artists in the exhibition: Jessica Moon Bernstein, Michael Brohman, Jane daPain, Fallen Fruit, Tsehai Johnson, David Kahn, Rian Kerrane, Rori Knudtson, Peter Menzel, Michael Reynolds, Musci, Patricia Tinajero and Amy Youngs. The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Biennial of the Americas and curated by RedLine artist in residence Viviane Le Courtois.

  • River Construct 2010
  • Materials Himalayan rabbit, worms, plants, mosquito fish, tubing, buckets, ladder, hydroton clay media, custom solar powered pump and timer.
  • Exhibited RedLine Gallery in Denver, CO