This website is dedicated to the multifaceted project Beyond Streaming: A Sound Mural for Flint. Navigating through the site, one can experience the many activities, conversations, inputs and outputs that developed over the course of the project and exhibition. This site also functions as a living archive, continuing to grow and accumulate information, updates, and relevant stories pertaining to the ongoing water crisis in Flint and the different forms of art and activism manifested by the members of this project. Beyond Streaming began as a conversation, and through this platform we hope the conversation continues.
In the fall of 2016, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University invited Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy to participate in the MSU Federal Credit Union Artist Studio Series. Tichy is well-known for his large-scale, community-based initiatives that respond directly to local, contemporary issues. For this residency, Tichy was invited to address the Flint water crisis, which came to the forefront of regional and national consciousness in 2014 after the Flint water supply was switched to the Flint River—the results of which led to high-levels of contamination and health problems for many residents. Still today, the crisis remains a daily reality for many affected citizens who no longer have direct access to clean, safe water. While many initiatives have been launched in response to the crisis, Tichy and the museum joined together in a shared belief in the power of art to offer more nuanced and poetic ways of coming to terms with the situation in Flint.
After a period of intense research, outreach, and many hours of conversation, the artist decided to create a literal and figurative pipeline between the greater Lansing area and Flint through the residency. Tichy worked closely with nearly sixty high school students from Carman-Ainsworth High School (Flint) and Everett High School (Lansing), convening joint workshops to explore how different forms of creative expression can be used to communicate ideas and messages, while also touching on themes of social and restorative justice. Through these engagements, the group developed content for the exhibition at the museum, in the hopes of providing greater visibility to the Flint water crisis through the amplification of voices previously unheard.
This website contains much of the material and information gathered along the way for this project, while also providing an additional access point to the creative dialogues between the students that compose the sound installation at the MSU Broad. At the outset of the project the students were paired together to promote direct communication and interaction, the results of which are detailed here in their words and drawings. The audio recordings presented here are also those that were featured in the exhibition and publication. Furthermore, since the installation at the museum had a more limited timeframe—on view from January 21 to August 20, 2017—the website enables their work and words to live on for posterity, creating the opportunity for countless other viewers to access the project through these virtual windows.