Tracing Our Mississippi

View of Tracing Our Mississippi installation in open condition during day. Credit: Derek Hoeferlin and Nate Stanfield.

Posted by Sam Fox School April 6, 2021


Derek Hoeferlin, associate professor and chair of landscape architecture and urban design, is one of seven individuals/teams serving as an Exhibit Columbus 2020-21 University Design Research Fellow. These fellows were selected for their ability to tackle issues related to the future of the city and the Mississippi Watershed region, such as sustainability and material reuse, non-human habitat, watershed ecologies, emergent technologies, and migration.

All fellows have been asked to develop installations in response to the  theme New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City, developed by Fall 2021 exhibition co-curators Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger. Installation will be exhibited August 21-November 28 at different civic landmarks and public spaces across Columbus, Indiana.

Hoeferlin's project, Tracing Our Mississippi, will be an interactive installation and public programming series at the site of the Columbus Pump House, on a terrace adjacent to the Flatrock River. By representing the Mississippi Watershed as a large-scale, abstracted model (composed as a set of moveable pieces), and complimented by a series of large-format drawings drawn at multiple scales, the installation emphasizes the relentless infrastructures controlling the Mississippi’s landscapes, communities, and resources. Hoeferlin's project in Columbus and ongoing research presents the question: Is the Mississippi Watershed really a watershed anymore?

Tracing Our Mississippi answers by literally and physically engaging people in a new understanding of the vast territorial scales of the fourth largest watershed in the world. The installation and programming planned for Fall 2021 asks: What does it mean to empower all of us to question our past methods of control and power, with the hope of re-establishing new, collective understandings, in turn connecting all of us across ecological and cultural geographies? What would mean to re-trace our Mississippi?

To view the video of Hoeferlin's design presentation and learn more about the site, visit the Exhibit Columbus website.

Exhibit Columbus
View of Tracing Our Mississippi installation in closed condition during night. Credit: Derek Hoeferlin and Nate Stanfield.

Additional Media Coverage

Archinect: Exhibit Columbus' 2021 site installations showcase the work of University Design Research Fellows and nine high school students

The Architect's Newspaper: Exhibit Columbus unveils site-specific pavilions for 2021 Exhibition

Art Daily: 2021 Exhibit Columbus announces design concepts