They Were So Thirsty

They were so thirsty they mistook the sky for water.



Hekate is a collaboration between siblings Julie and Kristy Lovich, blending reclaimed magick-work and multiform art practices. They use their familial tie as a site to unearth the legacies of generational poverty and patriarchal harm as they intersect with the privileges of whiteness and settler colonialism. From an autobiographical standpoint the pair contend with their own whiteness and gendered experiences dealing directly with issues of survival, violence, labor, and land. Audiences are invited to engage in vulnerable considerations of personal complicity, magick-work as medicine and political act, and a loving stewardship for our environment and communities.

They were so thirsty they mistook the sky for water.

We understand the attempted domestication of bodies, land, and water as expressions of historic and contemporary colonial projects aimed at shaping forms of space and being into environments and objects deemed useful for capitalist commerce. With this in mind we interpret the damming and concretization of the Arroyo Seco as one part in a series of architectural interventions that paved the way for the construction of the 110 freeway.  As a prompt for reflection on this we ask: How has the control of waterways and the construction of massive concrete transit structures in Los Angeles shaped our relationship with land and its inhabitants. How do we account for the physical and psycho-social distance between land and body that these architectural forms create? In what ways do these forms impact our social memory?

Using ritual and ceremony as medium, Hekate seeks to draw attention to these questions through a continuous walk along the original riverbed of the Arroyo Seco beginning at its origin site, the Hahamongna Watershed. Here we will collect water from the North side of Devil’s Gate dam using a handmade concrete vessel and usher the container to the Sycamore Grove overcrossing on the 110 freeway where we will close the ceremony by clearing a circle at the foot of an oak and offering the water at its root. This ten mile walking ceremony will provide a direct experience of the terrain that was once a major natural transit line linking the San Gabriel Mountain range to the Los Angeles River and the documentation of the process will be collected in the form of questions directed toward the landscape as we experience it and images taken at regular intervals from the point of view of the river itself.

As the title of this work suggests, a self-defeating contradiction exists in the pursuit to control water. As well within our walking ceremony we simultaneously revere the path the river takes and bear witness to the futility and folly in our attempt to ferry water by hand. We acknowledge the complication and tension created by the nexus of our whiteness and female bodied personhood and hold that intersection with humility, stepping into ceremony as a gesture toward honoring the migration of the water and a method to generate questions that will deepen our collective regard for the this land through the labor of walking.

This project was a part of a larger collaboration of LA based artists titled Overcrossings

Overcrossings Project was a series of three happenings on three pedestrian overcrossings above the Interstate-110 Arroyo Seco Freeway during summer 2016. The project culminated in an artist publication. The I-110, celebrated as the world’s first freeway, has cut a wall through the communities of Chinatown, Cypress Park, Highland Park, and South Pasadena. In an attempt to provide safe access across these inhuman spaces, pedestrian overcrossings both accommodate and cage the body.

Sixteen artists and two collectives engaged with each site and its surrounding communities through performance, temporary installations, and/or writing or print-specific projects for the publication. In this alienating maze of concrete and vehicles, how do we inhabit the paths built for walking?

The project takes inspiration from Asco’s publications and guerrilla performances; Erica Avila's book Folklore of the Freeways; Amy Balkin's Invisible-5 project; Project X’s series of artist-led exhibitions and publications; Rebecca Solnit's book Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and the second-line brass bands of Tremé who use the walls of the I-10 to amplify their music and voices.