Water-witching for Wanderers (and Wonderers) was a public art project that took place in the community of Quarry Park in Calgary, Alberta, and was developed and curated by Alana Bartol and Sarah Nordean. The work was commissioned by the City of Calgary as a public artwork in the form of an ‘art walk’ to be held in conjunction with the official opening of the Remington YMCA.
Water-witching for Wanderers (and Wonderers) invited the public to engage with Calgary’s community of Quarry Park, the site of a former gravel pit, through dowsing. Dowsing or water-witching is a form of divination used to locate ground water, oil, sites, and information. Using a willow branch, dowsers would locate ground water without the use of scientific technology. While the practice of dowsing is often discredited and dismissed, the use of this technology still persists.
Water-witching for Wanderers (and Wonderers) started with a dowsing workshop facilitated by the artists at the Remington YMCA Recreation Centre followed by an outdoor walk exploring Quarry Park through dowsing. Beginning at the YMCA, the participants moved outward into the neighbourhood and along the canal toward the Bow River, testing their divining skills along the way.
As part of this project, five Calgary-based artists and five participants in the dowsing walk created handheld artworks in response to the history of Quarry Park. These ten works have been placed in weatherproof containers and are hidden in Quarry Park. A map reveals their locations. Each container has a guestbook for viewers to sign that provides information about the artist, the artwork, and the project. You are invited to find these works. Learn more on this website.