School of Architecture College of Design

Anthropocene Headwaters


Workshop Summary

What are the sources of water in the Anthropocene?

From what geo-chronologies does local water originate?

What are new methods of sharing the complex story of urban water sources and infrastructure?

Does a new hydro-social understanding of a water source, its operations, and infrastructure, alter the value/meaning/taste of water?

With these questions in mind, students will utilize the idea and resource of Water Bar and deep mapping to conduct critical inquiry into everyday hydro-social infrastructures and other local and regional drinking water sources. This inquiry will lead to heightened awareness of the complex spatial, social, political, and ecological processes and narratives found within the hydro-social and other Anthropocene systems.

Students will collaborate with Water Bar artists Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Minneapolis-based Works Progress Inc, UMN|LA faculty Matthew Tucker, and other invited designers, scientists, and community residents to explore and document several Anthropocene water sources in the metro area, creating a new "menu" and companion materials for Water Bar & Public Studio. These waters and this menu will be served during the Northern Spark 2017 festival in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, as well as at other community festivals throughout the summer of 2017.


Guest Instructors

Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker, Woks Progress (Minneapolis)


Guest Biographies

Colin Kloecker

Colin is an artist, designer and filmmaker who works at the intersection of civic engagement and public art-making. He loves projects that invite participation, inspire new connections, and enable collaborative meaning-making. He believes we can create more resilient, playful, and supportive communities by daylighting and nourishing knowledge and creativity where it already exists.

Colin was a 2011 Fellow in the Creative Community Leadership Institute at Intermedia Arts, and was awarded a 2014 Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step grant to make a short film with employees of the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saint Paul. Everyday he strives to see beautiful possibilities in the systems of the city and to make interventions and provocations in our collective civic imagination.

Colin grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he studied visual art at Milwaukee High School for the Arts. He moved to Minneapolis in 2001 to attend the University of Minnesota's College of Design, where he received an undergraduate degree in architecture. After graduating, he worked for 5 years at Cermak Rhoades Architects, a small firm with a focus on affordable and supportive housing in the Twin Cities metropolitan region, one inspiration for his own decision to start a socially-focused studio business.


Shanai Matteson

Shanai is a writer, artist and arts organizer who leads and supports collaborative public art and design projects. She's interested in work at the margins of established fields and practices, and believes that edges and intersections provide fertile ground for artists and designers to learn and create, with and in community.

In addition to her role as Collaborative Director of Works Progress Studio, Shanai writes about artists and engagement, produces and directs documentary films, and consults with a wide range of organizations. Shanai is the Artistic Director of Public Art Saint Paul's City Art Collaboratory, a fellowship program for artists and scientists working with and on the Mississippi River and other ecologically-focused public art and engagement projects. In 2013 Shanai was awarded a Bush Fellowship to pursue her artistic and environmental leadership work.

Shanai grew-up in a small town on the Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota, and studied creative writing at the Perpich Center for Arts Education before attending the University of Minnesota for Cultural Studies of History and Science. She spent the first 6 years of her professional career as a Public Program Curator at the Bell Museum of Natural History, where she fell in love with environmental science, systems thinking, and social ecology.


Guest Host

Matthew Tucker, Assistant Professor, UMN LA

School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

Undergraduate Student Services
12 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
P: 612-624-1717 | E:

General Information
P: 612-626-9068 | E:

© 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement