Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Aquatopia: A Confluence of Art, Science, and the California Watershed

Lisa Cooperman.

Aquatopia is yet to be. Aquatopia teems with possibility. Aquatopia is a meeting of the ‘two cultures’ at one of the most important ecological sites in the California west.
The San Joaquin River where it meets the Sacramento forms the most dynamic economic and ecologically sensitive environment in the most populous state in the US. Yet it is besieged by divisiveness and outdated management; a victim of the expansionist policy of dominion over nature.
The central mission of Aquatopia is to utilize art to reimagine a newly sensitised and sustainable relationship within this ecosystem. Students, activists, historians, lawyers, and educators work with faculty and master artists to observe and strategize. Daily activities are broken into areas of expedition, interpretation and intervention. While relying on the participating scientists for field study skills and data interpretation, the institute will also develop an awareness of scientific inquiry as mediated by cultural, political, and economic concerns.
The institute reinforces habits of self-critique common to studio art practice and expand the notion of what constitutes art making. The field lab presents the perfect opportunity for both artists and scientists to become new hybrids; serious in their disciplines but porous to integrated humanistic solutions.


Lisa Cooperman  (United States)
Visiting Lecturer
Department of Art and Art History Pacific Humanities Center
University of the Pacific

Lisa Cooperman is a sculptor and public artist. She teaches foundation classes in 2 and 3D Design and coordinates undergraduate research and special programming for the Pacific Humanities Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton California.

  • Art
  • Ecology
  • Hybrid
  • Science

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)