Something fishy is happening to the water

Aug 17, 2011 by

Walking past the Art Emporium in downtown Charleston, W.Va., this week, one couldn’t help noticing a whole bunch of fish swimming around inside on the walls. About 300 to be exact. It’s even odder inside because if what’s inside the bellies of the polystyrene, see-through fish – cigarettes, smashed pop cans, a condom, bottle caps, a bottle of 5-Day Energy, and much more.

The fish were crafted by Nik Botkin and they are intertwined with and swimming around some impressive large-size photographs of mountaintop removal by Paul Corbit Brown. The combined show is called “Troubled Waters,” and it paints an unpretty portrait of what humans are doing to the waterways on which their survival utterly depends.

Here is a quick video I pulled together of the show, which formally opens as part of the monthly Charleston ArtWalk from 5 to 8 p.m. this Thursday in downtown Charleston and will remain up through mid-September.

Here is an except of a Charleston Gazette story I wrote about the show. NOTE: The cool video soundtrack is a tune called “Do This (Like That)” by The Flow.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — We hardly give it a thought. Turn on the faucet or the shower and fresh water pours out.

But where does the water come from, what’s happening to the places it comes from — and will the fresh water keep coming?

About 300 curious polystyrene fish and a host of photographs of blown-up mountains pose the question more literally at the exhibit “Troubled Waters,” which opened Thursday at the Art Emporium, 823 Quarrier St., as part of this month’s downtown Charleston ArtWalk.

Photographer Paul Corbit Brown recalls seeing an exhibit earlier this year of environmental artist Nik Botkin’s display of illuminated fish, their bellies filled with trash mostly gathered from the waterways and walkways of West Virginia.

“When I saw that fish exhibit, it just blew me away,” said Brown, who has long documented the swath mountaintop removal has cut across West Virginia as blasted rock is then dumped into valley fills that often bury miles of streams.

“We’re both trying to talk about what’s happening to the water and help people visualize water problems, to make it not quite such an abstract prospect.” … | READ ON

Photo by Paul Corbit Brown | paulcorbitbrown.com

 

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