lotic waters, 
video still 2021

A collaboration by Beate Geissler, Mat Rappaport, Oliver Sann

180 VR video, 3D audio, Oculus Quest, spherical fabric play area


Lotic Waters is an immersive VR video that places the viewer underwater in the Chicago River to present an embodied experience of industrial encroachment and human habitation on vital and often invisible ecosystems in urban environments. In 1887, the Illinois General Assembly decided to reverse the flow of the Chicago River by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed, thereby channeling Chicago’s industrial waste and sewage into the Mississippi, through New Orleans and in to the Gulf of Mexico. The video combines underwater 3D footage, hydrophone audio recordings,and local field recordings. 

Lotic Waters utilizes virtual reality and architectural projections to provide a visceral connection between the audience and the content. It can place the viewer into places or perspectives that are difficult to access or often invisible. We hope this connection will yield a greater sense of urgency and the importance of water health related to the climate crisis and resilience.

We believe a shift in attitudes of governments, companies, and citizens is only possible through a holistic approach, achieved through direct contact and to make a region tangible and visible. Change can only be achieved when citizens can access and engage our natural environment. In that way, art can be a generative driving force to foster sustainable practices to promote the preservation and remediation of clean water, restoration, and rich water biodiversity. 

This work was produced along the Chicago River and Goose Island. Future iterations will feature other waterways and river systems nationally and globally.

Project Trailer, 2:00


Screenings + Presentations


July 24th- October 2nd  2021
Q.Arma Gallery
1224 Quincy Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

The exhibition at Q.arma Gallery has been conceived in parallel to Many Waters: A Minnesota Biennial at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.


Watershed Art + Ecology

October 2021
Dates tba
The Backward River Festival
1821 South Racine 
Chicago, IL 668

Tenderhouse Projects – Deep Time Chicago

October 2021

OCTOBER 16, 2021 6:00 – 8:00 PM

2595 S Ashland, Chicago, IL 60608

Projected onto the observatory windows of the South Ashland Bridgehouse, Deep Time Chicago will feature 6 films by Chicago Artists. This series of films examine crucial questions of global ecological change.

  • BORN SECRET (19:44 MINS) : Jeremy Bolen, Brian Holmes, and Brian Kirkbride


  • RE-PERCUSSIONS (0:29 MINS): Marlena Novak, Jay Alan Yim, Mak Hepler-Gonzalez

  • LOTIC WATERS (10:28 (MINS): Beate Geissler, Mat Rappaport, Oliver Sann

  • RIVER, COME BACK (6:11 MINS): Nina Barnett

  • CARP SONG (1:30 MINS): Sarah Lewison and Andrew Yang

  • COMFORT IN HYDROLOGY (13:00 MINS): Steve Rowell