"In early October 2015, South Carolina was hit with massive flooding.

Schools were closed to students as residents were forced out of their homes by flooding and lack of running water and electricity; some were used as local shelters by the Red Cross to house those displaced. According to a report by The State newspaper, more than 102,000 South Carolinians had registered with FEMA for assistance by the end of 2015, when damage to private homes and property, infrastructure, and tourism was valued at $1.5 billion."

"Multiple dams failed, causing rivers and creeks to overflow, and spillover contributed to flooding in surrounding areas. In many areas, exact water levels and rainfall were unable to be recorded, because many of the US Geological Survey (USGS) gauges used to measure these statistics were damaged or washed away. The Congaree River, which flows through Columbia, South Carolina's capital city, reached discharge flow rates of 185,000 cubic feet per second before the USGS gauge measuring stage height and flow rates apparently began to fail. Stories like these two were reported all over the state, as the water, and its impact, literally became immeasurable."

Flooded by Jordan Young

Flooded by Jordan Young

"The absence of formal documentation from the media and science communities alike identified a common need in affected South Carolina communities to come together to consider the story of the floods. In response to this, "Waterlines" was chosen as the theme for the 2016 edition of lndie Grits [April 14-17, 2016], a Columbia-based annual festival of film, art, music, and technology, presented by the nonprofit Nickelodeon Theatre. For this 10th annual iteration of IG, Waterlines took part of its southeastern flavored programming to the edge of the Congaree, encouraging a direct engagement between the community and its river. (Headlining the musical performances there was bounce queen Big Freedia-a New Orleans native who is no stranger to the impact of floods, and who has been outspoken about her experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.) A selection of original artworks commissioned for Waterlines is presented here; all of them seek to provide context, documentation, and a place for reflection on the floods on 2015, their impact in South Carolina, and their significance well beyond it."

Bruce Lampros
Art Papers, May/June 2016