Rio Meander Map, a collaborative project between Jose Villanueva and Patrick O’Shea, traces the meandering flow of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo.
Jose Villanueva and Patrick O’Shea met in 2020 during a collaborative project titled Rio Meander Map, part of the Land Arts of the American West program at Texas Tech University. The Rio Meander Map is a process of tracing the Rio Grande/Río Bravo area through time. It consists of geospatially digitized historical archives, maps, and data and reveals the meandering flow of the river over the last 250 years, containing artifacts of algorithmic erasures and environmental injustices through a visual history of control.
From that collaboration, Jose Villanueva and Patrick O’Shea have since developed a digital space for the Rio Meander Map project to continue to evolve and grow. This digital life of the project remains a part of the original collaboration, and builds from its original long term intentions as an open-source digital repository, to make the synthesized GIS data available for others to use in projects and opportunities we can’t anticipate.
“To continue this ongoing project, we are testing a submission box in which anyone can enter coordinates along with a text or image to be added to the map. Over time, there will be a list of hyperlinked stories. The river is voiceless; this project aims for people to share and listen to stories to be able to better understand the river and the land it sits on.”
Jose Villanueva was born in Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, was smuggled into the U.S. at the age of three, and was raised in Oak Cliff, Texas. He studied architecture and civil engineering at Texas Tech University. An architect by profession, his art reflects a desire and propensity for storytelling. Employing Patrick O’Shea + Jose Villanueva poetry, video, family memorabilia, and painting, Villanueva uses his own and his families’ stories as a conduit toward understanding himself and where he came from, and to digest the stories of the Latin American diaspora.
Patrick O’Shea is a U.S.-born artist and researcher. His work combines a wide array of practices—science, programming, contemporary art, anthropology, among others—to construct unfamiliar and technical ways to see and interpret the world. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in anthropology from the University of Vermont. O’Shea strives for ethical and open methods for creating possibilities and spaces for injustices, power differentials, and stories to come to light.
Texas | Rio Meander Map | @e_x_i_s_t_o | @patrick___oshea