Production on Water Combines Science, Art

Published: Mar. 28, 2016 at 6:32 AM CDT
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It's sometimes a difficult union between urban and rural communities, especially when it comes to issues both sides feel passionate about. One issue that both sides agree is important, can also be controversial, water and what we're all doing about it.

But an Iowa college is hoping to bridge the gap with the arts by the multimedia production Body of Water.

Biology professor at Luther College Jodi Enos-Berlage partnered to create the project with Luther dance professor Jane Hawley who was inspired by and dedicated the project to North American Indian nations.

Enos-Berlage says, "We're bringing what we think is a unique performance, that combines both science and the arts to communicate a really important message."

She says, "So it's video that is informational, but also where we capture beauty of water, and then we have the music that's connecting to your audio senses and then we have the dance movement."

"Every single movement is very intentional and was created, the choreography was created, by watching water movement by learning about water molecules by listening to farmers and urban folks talk about water." Enos-Berlage says, "And so it was really driven by those principles. And then it creates this work of art that's dynamic."

"Our goal was really to raise that awareness and, I will share, affection and we all have this, we have this innate affection because it's built into our system because it's a central part of our biology and what we wanted to do is just highlight that." Enos-Berlage says, "And so it started with a water monitoring research project for multiple and then it merged into a collaboration with a faculty member at Luther in the dance department and that relationship built up this idea to utilize the arts to communicate a scientific message and do things only the arts can do."

She says, "If I went and did a science talk about my research, number one I wouldn't get the audience with the Body of Water performance but neither could I convey, connect people like the arts can do."

"If I've gained nothing else from this, it's that you need to be proximate to people and to whatever the water issue is in order to fully understand it and understand how complicated it is and how complicated solutions are." She says, "But if we can make those connections and if we can highlight this natural affection we have for everyone to be on board in that way then that's a really powerful way to move forward."

At the end of the program they present a water pledge saying, "I am responsible to the water that runs through my body, hands and property" and offer steps to take as rural and urban landowners.


originally showed in 2015 at Luther College but was put on again at Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa on March 23, 2016.