Parts per trillion

2016 - 2019

3d printed and pit-fired earthenware ceramic

Parts Per Trillion is an artwork that imprints and accumulates human activity within a geological context. While it imagines the immense diversity of forces, subjects and objects which inhabit the Bow River Watershed, the work's title alludes to the perspectives developed by researchers within the City of Calgary's Water Services Department which allow us to perceive the watershed in astonishing resolution, in parts per trillion.

Composed of an edition of earthenware ceramic sculptures, each object in this collection is the result of a process that began with the artist 3D scanning a selection of artifacts found in relation to the Bow river Watershed. A graffitied river rock, a Cliff Swallow’s nest, a recently unearthed bison skull, a centrifugal separator… this physical archive addresses the Bow River Watershed as a vast and entangled collective of parts.

Gurysh produced this archive while meeting with water quality experts studying river sediment transport, exploring active archaeological digs, and encountering the ongoing operations of the city's largest water infrastructure projects.

These forms were then reproduced using a ceramic 3D printing process and subsequently fired in an excavated pit along the banks of the Bow River in Edworthy Park. This gesture both finalizes the ceramic process, carbon-dating each object, while registering a visible mark of the landscape.

This project was developed while participating in the Dynamic Environment Lab, commissioned by The City of Calgary WATERSHED+ Public Art Program

Special thanks to the DE LAB team: Sans Façon, Randy Niessen, Alex Lingau, Heather Campbell and Heather Aitken; Brian Vivian of Lifeways of Canada, Senior UEP Watershed Biologist, Eric Camm, and UEP staff at the Manchester Central Store, Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant, and Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant; North Mount Pleasant Arts Center and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.