Sensing Change: Estuary/Toxi•City

Part of the Institute’s yearlong Sensing Change initiative, Estuary/Toxi•City is the work of director and artist Roderick Coover. Estuary, a large-format book, and Toxi•City, a digital video installation, take on the past, present, and future of waterways like the Delaware and Thames rivers.

How can you travel to places you can’t physically go or to times you can’t physically go to, and pull those stories and make them your own?

—Roderick Coover

The estuaries of both rivers provided rich fodder for a sensory experience of the impact of climate change and chemical pollutants on our waters and landscapes. How do we construct and understand our changing landscapes? How do we adjust to the future of our landscapes, and how do we modify them?

Coover discusses the ideas behind his work Estuary/Toxi•City.

Coover discusses how he incorporates current and outdated maps and memories of places into his panoramic pieces.


Estuary, 2013

  • Artist book by Roderick Coover, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Database research assistant: Conor Hafertepe
  • Field-research assistants: Julisa Basak, Chad Bevins, Conor Hafertepe, Paul Hinson, Bruce Byker James, Max Marin, Nate Quinn, Nicole Rothschild, and Chad Sims

Toxi•City, 2013

  • Director/artist: Roderick Coover
  • Script: Scott Rettberg
  • Sound technician: Joseph Kraemer
  • Cast: Aram Aghazarian, Don Anstock, Kamili Feelings, Alice Gatling, Cynthia Geonnotti, Steve Geonnotti, Saskia Hargrove, Chris Monaco, and Chris Whelan

Roderick Coover’s work spans films, interactive cinema, installations, webworks, and published papers. Coover uses experimental documentary methods and new digital media to uncover the places where social sciences, humanities, technology, and memory intersect. In an interview with our staff Coover reflected on the creation of Estuary/Toxi•City, on how we construct and modify the landscapes of our memory, and on his own work process.

View all clips from our interview with Roderick Coover >>


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