KCET Commemorates 100th Anniversary of L.A. Aqueduct

Special Artbound Series Explores the Metabolic Studio's 'AgH20' and Kicks Off Artbound's Third Season

KCET's centenary initiative also features in-depth coverage from BOOM magazine on Artbound and includes acclaimed documentary, "Water Pressure" airing Oct. 27 on KCET

OCTOBER 3, 2013, BURBANK, CA---KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Los Angeles aqueduct with a special series on Artbound in partnership with the Metabolic Studio led by artist Lauren Bon. The series debuts the third season of Artbound, KCET's Emmy®-nominated arts and culture transmedia initiative.


Also, as part of the aqueduct centennial celebration, Artbound and Boom magazine have collaborated to present engaging articles that ruminate on the ecological and societal impact of the grand public-works project, and imagine the future of water in Southern California. These articles can be found online at kcet.org/artbound beginning this week with, "There It Is. Take It." by David L. Ulin.

In addition KCET will present the acclaimed documentary, "Water Pressure" with host Adrian Grenier that explores the scarcity of drinking water around the globe.

"As the leading public media steward of the region, it is not only important for us to commemorate and recognize the audacity of the creation of the Los Angeles aqueduct, but also understand the social and environmental effects it had on the region and the implications it has on our future," said Juan Devis, KCETLink's vice president of Arts & Culture programming. "The work that artist Lauren Bon is creating with the Metabolic Studio demonstrates how art can impact our collective understanding of history and the environment."

Kicking off season three of Artbound on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 9:30 p.m., a one-hour special looks at Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio's "AgH2O" project which connects the elements mined from the Owens Valley, silver and water, to the emergence of the film industry. Silver mined from the Owens Valley was shipped to Rochester, NY, where it was used to make film. That film was then shipped back to Hollywood where films where made--often shot on locations where the silver itself was from. 

In this episode, Artbound focuses on the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio.

The Optics Division is on a quest for the perfect indexical image, an image not just of the valley but made from the valley. The team has been working on all aspects of production including the camera(s), the film stock, the developers and fixatives, all sourced from the dry lake bed.

Bon and The Optics Division's tools include the "Liminal Camera," a portable camera and darkroom housed in a shipping container. The team can produce large black and white images matching the size of the container itself in a few hours.

The special explores other tools that have been developed by the Optics Division including "Silo Camera" located in a one hundred foot silo on the edge of the Owens Dry Lake Bed and Mine Camera. The rig is being used to see the mine shaft, unused for nearly 100 years, that provided the silver for the pioneering film industry.

Artbound will produce a second special feature from "AgH20" as Bon and her team document "One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct."  This epic 240-mile journey along the Los Angeles aqueduct commemorates the centenary of its opening on Nov. 5, 2013. The patient, steadfast pace of one hundred mules over the course of 20 days provides a moment of meditation on the nature of our watershed.

Mules were used to haul the gigantic pipes into place and transport the materials for the miles of concrete channels that exported water from The Eastern Sierra's to Los Angeles. The journey, starting on Oct. 18, 2013, draws the line between the Intake and the Cascades, the beginning and the end point of this engineered life line of the city of Los Angeles. This segment is scheduled to air winter 2014. 

This work is a prelude to the Metabolic Studio's next and most ambitious project which Artbound will also cover, "Bending the River into the City," a piece of engineering proposed for a new century in which the L.A. River will be dammed, its concrete jacket punctured and its water lifted sixty feet from the river basin to the top of a sixty foot water wheel before it is treated and redistributed in the city's first community water bank.

"Water Pressure" Documentary

On Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4:30 p.m., KCET will air "Water Pressure," a film that documents the resource in trouble around the world.  Water is a central element of life, yet one in eight people worldwide--1.2 billion--lack access to safe drinking water. In the coming years, the water scarcity in some drought-stricken regions will turn into a global crisis. Hosted by actor-producer Adrian Grenier (HBO's Entourage), "Water Pressure" sheds light on this critical, complex issue by documenting the partnership between villagers in water-distressed Rajasthan, India and students and faculty at Northwestern University, situated on the shores of Lake Michigan. Students in a Northwestern environmental policy class see a model of conservation and community cooperation firsthand on a 10-day trip to India, where a leading nonprofit organization illustrates the power of pairing traditional wisdom with simple teamwork to solve the water crisis in the Thar Desert. They also meet with political leaders, corporate executives and water experts to create their own local partnerships and try to make a difference in their own communities.


On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its nearly 50-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. KCET is a service of KCETLink.


With more than 50 columnists and cultural critics in 11 counties of Southern and Central California, Artbound provides seeds of engagement through articles, videos, projects and partners, who are narrating the cultural stories of the region. The role of Artbound is not just to record, report and broadcast cultural stories; its aim is to create mechanisms--be it partnerships, projects or online tools--through which audiences can take direct action in the creation of a common narrative.  Since its launch in May 2012, Artbound has earned numerous awards for its coverage of Southern California's unique narrative of arts and culture, including a Southern California Journalism Award, a National Entertainment Journalism Award, a Golden Mike Award as well as an Emmy® nomination. The site was also named a Webby Award Official Honoree and voted "Best Arts & Culture Site" by L.A. Weekly in 2012.


The practice of Lauren Bon and her team focuses on paradigm shifts, producing devices of wonder to create the potential for transforming social, political, and physical brownfields into healthy and productive living systems.


The 419-mile Aqueduct, considered a marvel in modern engineering, began construction in 1908 and was completed Nov. 5, 1913.  The system reportedly supplies 600 million gallons of drinking water a day driven by gravity from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles.









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