Emergence: a process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed

Hidden beneath Atlanta lies a system of waterways upon which the constantly developing city of Atlanta relies.  Emergence presents a series of temporary monuments to the four spring heads that lie directly beneath Downtown Atlanta and feed the region’s vital, life-sustaining rivers and creeks.

The above ground sites of these spring heads are host to some of Atlanta’s key civic and public institutions, including a hospital, a government building, a former church, and a transit station.

Commissioned by Flux Projects, Emergence features sound and sculptural installations at the above-ground sites of these spring heads, daily performances, and an evening video projection.

By illuminating the “birthplaces” of Atlanta’s waterways, Emergence offers the public the opportunity to collectively consider the power of the natural ecology upon which Atlanta has been built and the continued presence of the life-springs that support the land upon which the city’s residents live their lives.

The waters that emerge in downtown Atlanta begin their journeys traveling in the four cardinal directions before joining other bodies of water and making their way toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico


From September 30-October 1 2022, the four sites of the spring heads were marked with physical and performance-based monuments. Sculptural fountains made of river-sculpted tree roots, water sourced downstream from the spring head, river rocks and concrete sat atop the buried spring heads. A sound installation amplified the sound of running water from the fountains. Ten performers acted as water-tenders, sharing stories with the public about the waters buried underneath, voicing ancient and original origin stories that have water as the core element, as well as filling the cracks in the sidewalks with locally sourced mica to trace the direction of the flow of the water below the city’s built environment. At night, a video monument highlighting the many faces of our local waterways appeared in the gulch, above the site where proctor creek emerges.

all photos above by the mega-talented Julie Yarbrough.


I was incredibly lucky to work with so many amazing Atlanta-based artists including Meredith Kooi (sound), Brock Scott (video), Lee Osorio (casting), Jimmy Joyner (costumes), and performers Zoe Carter, Ava Davis, Kerri Garrett, Brittney McClendon, Emily Musgrove, Cameryn Richardson, Natalie Ruiz, Lucy Smith, Sarah Elizabeth Wallis, Melissa Word. And none of this would have happened without the dedication of artists/production team extraordinaire: George Long, Charlie Schwab, Daniel Desimon, Kris Hill and Gavin Bernard.


This project was deeply influenced by the work of diverse local knowledge keepers. Particularly important conversations came from leaders in cultural and geologic fields including Tracie Revis, Dr. Bill Witherspoon, Dr. Ellery Ingall and David Avant of SEPM. This is in addition to engaging with the work of local artists and organizations including Hannah Palmer, South River Watershed Alliance, Chattahoochee NOW, American Rivers, the Southfork Conservancy, the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance,


I so enjoyed my conversations with Isadora Pennington and Hannah Jones, and I’m proud to share their words about this meaningful project.

“Emergence”: Atlanta artist’s ode to city’s hidden waterways

And here’s a podcast with the incomparable Floyd Hall. Hope you enjoy!

In addition to writing a great article, Isadora Pennington took some fun photos of the work in progress during our studio visit. Here’s some of her shots: