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Missis Sippi  (self-made river running from a faucet to the Mississippi River)

Outdoor / indoor installation
Soap Factory, Minneapolis
June 14 - July 28, 2002


Daily Record


arrived in Minneapolis and went to gallery. lots of streets, railroad tracks behind the factory...much more than I thought


started building in factory
walked possible river routes to the Mississipp:i

closest: 300 meters
- through state park...down wooden staircase to river
- huge power plant on the left
- looking up stream gives the illusion that the Mississippi is a small creek here (an island keeps you from seeing the rest of the river)

farthest: 600 meters
- power plant on the right...long walk around the property
- long flat up top
- PICTURESQUE descent through forest...steep cliff drop off
- a man lives in this area...has a nice sunken concrete room with an aluminum cover
- long meadow leading to roaring sounds of river ahead...follows power co. fence
- raging water at Mississippi (from a dam 100 feet upstream)


find main water source for building in basement
(sorry, no pictures of the basement. it's big, vast, dark, damp, and dirty)
built along the back of the factory and down along the rail lines
dug trench underneath the railroad tracks.
test first section...works, but double buckets spring a leak


fix and repair damage done by storm in the night
RR inspector doeesn't seem to mind the new trench underneath his tracks


build track down through lower meadow


build along the lower set of railroad lines. 20 stud tracks (10 feet each) looks like nothing....
change mind about direction.
found another good spot between the state park and the power plant. it doesn't seem to tresspass and it's much closer. it goes near the home of another outdoor/homeless man. at the end...the edge of the Mississippi, there is an old abandoned staircase that is half destroyed. lots of dead fish here though. I think the dams or catches get them up stream. big ones! really big ones that make for bad pictures, smell, and flies.

drag up finished river from meadow to new destination


measured roads/intersections (to avoid the state park, the river must pass on the other side of the road. this means that the river must also cross 4 more roads.)
began making speed bumps - 110'ft.


finished making the speed bumps - 110 feet of bump
JUN 10

build lower section through forest
it's like a jungle down here
starts where the state park cul de sac ends
runs along the right side of the power plant
met some power plant workers today
the mosquitos are the worst in the evening!

storms at night...good time to do work on more "visible sections of river"
dig a trench running from the cul de sac to the drop off
i expect some storm damage in the morning...

JUN 11

repair damaged sections
lot of visitors in the morning...more power plant workers and a tractor trailer delivery of 260' feet of pipe. this man saw the trench up top and walked down the hill into the jungle to find me. but the order wasn't for me.
finish bottom section
a few waterfalls and swamp runs

begin working on the flat middle section (roads, sidewalks, park, and people)
no one seems to mind
dug trench across rental company's driveway, laid rain gutter, and covered with strips of plywood...doesn't look like enough. (big semi's turn in here all day)


by afternoon the wood strips over the driveway looked like they'd been left in the rain for 10 years. the tractor trailers tore them up and lifted the spikes that kept it in the ground...
spiked in a wider strips of wood and covered spikes.
nearly finished the mid-section. all the track is out...just waiting connect everything across the streets.
nervous about finally crossing the street above ground...did some landscaping
David Pittman, the gallery manager, gave some great help and the river a lift
it's rained nearly every evening I've been here.


slow start...
back off on laying out speed bumps. most of the traffic back here is 18 wheelers and dump trucks. the speed bumps are nice for cars, but might get torn up from something so much bigger. too good of chance of a truck locking up and kicking the bump back.
neighbor hydraulic specialist, Bob, from the rental company suggests using hose. he donates 60 feet to the river! ...Bob's office opens up onto the second porch that the river crosses. he previously donated a tree to the river.
connect the hoses to aluminum stud track...to be laid out tomorrow morning...


day of anxious apprehension, putting hose across roads... ...it works!! with some last minute failure and later minute repairs, the water flowed out just like a regular faucet.

I didn't think it would work. So I waited to turn it on...an hour before the event the water started going. I was worried it wouldn't get across the road, but then shit!, damn if it did. Blup, bloop, it squirted out the hose going across the road and kept traveling down. I was happy...ah! but then shit! a section I dug underground and thought would work was leaking all over the place. I borrowed some nearby construction signs and blocked off this section of road. Ripped the river out of the ground and built it above ground. Then it kept going....