Nelson’s large-scale installation created out of layers of suspended fabric panels was a three-dimensional interpretation of one of the old meanders of the Duwamish. It relied on historical river data from 1907 and referenced Coastal Salish place names in the vicinity of the site; specifically:
təbáli – Aerial Duck Net Place. The description of this place: ‘A large trap stood here along a river bend at the foot of the bluffs. Enormous flocks of waterfowl would have populated the rich estuary of the Duwamish, particularly during spring and autumn migrations, making nets like these hugely successful. By the early twentieth century, though, most of the birds were gone and the imposing net structures were a largely forgotten technology’ (text adapted from “An Atlas of Indigenous Seattle” in Native Seattle by Coll Thrush).
This Burke Museum blog post has more about the history of the river and the origins of the project.
Thanks to Zac Corum, a civil engineer, and Amir Sheikh, Waterlines Project team Co-Leader who helped to inform the piece.
Thanks to our Site Sponsor: Georgetown Campus, South Seattle College