Water Gold Soil: The American River tells the story of a single flow of water in present-day California from origin to end-use. Beginning at the river’s headwaters in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the book follows the water through pipes and dams, past Sutter’s Mill and the birthplace of the Gold Rush, to the corporate agricultural fields until it eventually disappears into the ground, finding veins in the soil. Including a short essay by Elizabeth Kolbert, the book brings together a series of narrative text, photographs, and archival images that represent the history of extraction in California and testify to the social and ecological consequences of watershed colonialism.
Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris) work with photography, video, writing, and installation to examine our changing notions of nature, culture, and ecology. Their work is often place-based and focused on historical research. Their work has been exhibited broadly in the U.S. and internationally, including at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Belvedere Museum, the Museum of Capitalism and the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art. They have been awarded numerous fellowships including the New York Artist Fellowship, the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, the Center for Art and Environment Research Fellowship, and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design. They are currently teaching in the Transmedia Department at Syracuse University. Their archives are collected by the Nevada Museum of Art / Reno, Center for Art and Environment. In 2006, Sayler/Morris co-founded The Canary Project—a studio that produces visual media and artworks that deepen public understanding of climate change and other ecological issues. Sayler/Morris were the recipients of a 2012 Light Work Grant.