Film, 2012. In collaboration with Andy Sternad.
Crossing Over was shown as part of Shallow’s exhibition of work at the Vandeventer Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri in April, 2012. New Orleans is a Delta City, but the water is almost invisible. Water simultaneously sustains and threatens the city, but its power, meaning, and vital infrastructure are unknown to most residents. Despite a sprawling lakefront, the nation’s most vital river, and five major drainage canals, water is hard to find. When you do find it, it’s hard to see. Bridges are your best shot at glimpsing the most powerful force in New Orleans.
There are 84 bridges over water in Drainage Basin 1 – the area of the city bordered by Lake Pontchartrain to the north, the 17th Street Canal to the west, the Mississippi River to the south, and the Industrial Canal to the east. Nearly every bridge is represented in some way in this film. As we collected this footage, we observed New Orleans as an archipelago, where every movement requires a crossing over water to a new island. On a regional map, New Orleans feels like it is itself one large island – indeed, there is only a single small area where one doesn’t cross water to enter the city. Most often, though, New Orleans feels like a desert, with no water in sight unless you are hunting for it. These bridges represent a rare vista toward that water.