On display November 8–17
Water Serpent is a nearly 200-foot-long, floating sculpture that shoots out fire along its metallic spine and spits sparks from its mouth. Like Floatus—Walter Productions’ installation from last year’s Canal Convergence—Water Serpent will produce nightly fire shows choreographed to music. A contrast of fire and water will play out as Water Serpent shoots flames into the sky, reflecting not only on the sculpture’s metallic surface but also on the water of the Arizona Canal. In conjunction with Canal Convergence’s focus on sustainability, portions of the serpent’s skin are made from upcycled metal cans.
The Story of Water
Inspired by the 2019 Canal Convergence theme of “The Story of Water,” Kristina Ricci, the lead artist on Water Serpent for Walter Productions, researched the history of the canal system in greater Phoenix area and learned of an archaeological site approximately 20 miles south of Scottsdale called Snaketown. Located on the Gila River Indian Reservation, it is part of Hohokam Pima National Monument, but is not open to the public. This ancient village from the Hohokam classic period was inhabited from about 300 AD to about 1200 AD and may have had as many as 2,000 residents. One notable aspect of Snaketown was an extensive canal system used for irrigating crops, including beans, squash, corn, cotton, and melons. These canals, and others built by the ancestral Sonoran Desert people throughout the Valley of the Sun, grew to about 500 miles of irrigation waterways, which laid the groundwork for the modern canal system maintained by Canal Convergence sponsor SRP. Walter Productions designed Water Serpent, which floats on one of those modern canals, as a tribute to Snaketown. Not only does it refer to a vision of canals snaking their way through the desert landscape, it also speaks to the importance of sharing water and the critical role water plays in food production.
Time and location to be determined.
The Walter Productions crew built the Water Serpent at the Walterdome, on the grounds of historic Ponderosa Lumber in Scottsdale. The Walterdome is now home of the Walter Hive, a 501(c)3 dedicated to self-expression through art and technology, and the Walter Art Gallery. Walter Productions has been delivering experiential artistic entertainment for 10 years and is best known for its fleet of art cars led by Walter the Bus. Much of that time has been spent touring across the country, but now the team is putting down deep roots in the Valley. Recently, Walter has opened Walter Station Brewery in historic, old Station 29, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s original fire station. Walter will be opening two additional gallery venues in downtown Phoenix in the coming months, one in the historic Zellerbach Paper Factory and the other at the original location of Canyon Records and Films. Both buildings were originally built in the 1940s. Walter Productions has exhibited its work at SpaceX, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Life is Beautiful.