Dowsing (In Blood and Bone)
In Blood and Bone is an ongoing series that asks how dowsing might shift our relationships to natural resources, technology, and place, while examining concepts of remediation, embodied knowledge, and environmental health.
Dowsing or ‘water-witching’ is a form of divination used to locate ground water, oil, sites, information and objects. Though it was associated with witchcraft and the occult, dowsing has been used for prospecting ores and water in Northern Europe since the 15th century. Using a “Y” shaped branch or copper “L" rods dowsers are able to locate ground water without the use of scientific technology. While the practice of dowsing is often discredited and dismissed, the use of this alternative technology still persists. Coming from a long line of water-witches, I began exploring dowsing as a creative method in 2015.
In 2016, I began a series of site-responsive performances that investigate remediation through the practice of dowsing at abandoned oil well sites in Alberta. An exhibition of this work will be presented at TRUCK Contemporary Art September 1 Oct 15, 2017.
Photos 1-10 (Three Hills, Alberta): Karin McGinn
Video: Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi (forthcoming)