The Gabriel Canal, a temporal, public artwork was located on the Kelly Ranch just south of Bozeman, MT.
The work was built in 5 performance scenes that produced a geographic and cultural interrogation of the site.
Audiences were shuttled to the ranch on school buses.
Tour guides walked the audience from scene to scene through a mile-long trail on the ranch.
The twelve tour guides, included ranchers, environmentalists, geologists, Native American scholars and local politicians. During the month leading up to the performances, the guides, each with a different perspective on irrigation and water conservation, convened on the historic ranch to analyze the site. With the goal of understanding the ways that culture has contributed to drought, our examination focused on the site’s geographic features including human-dug canals and ditches, springs and wetlands prior to settler contact. We studied the impact of farming and grazing on the soil, the implications of irrigation systems and drought indices. Along with the water features, the guides contributed information about a pre-contact buffalo jump, an indigenous trail and the legacies of European colonialism and settler communities on this region.
The five scenes featured performance, music, dance, video, mapping and culminated in a light installation.
Gabriel Canal was generously supported by: ArtPlace America, Kendeda Fund, Thoroughfare Foundation, Mysun Charitable Foundation, NorthWestern Energy, Rebekah and
Chris Bunting, Tim and Kathy Crawford, Dotty Ballantyne, Chris and Maddy Pope, Bob Rowe and Melanie Reynolds, Timothy and Patricia Preheim.
Special thanks to: Kathryn Kelly and the Kelly Family, Montana Land Reliance and the Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators