Lake Merced CoLab

2014/05 – Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA

A collaboration with Paula Levine and students from the Conceptual/Information Arts Program (CIA) at San Francisco State University


Lake Merced is a natural, fresh water lake within San Francisco. First described in a journal of Juan Bautista de Anza’s exploration in 1776, it had been the seasonal home for the California Ohlone Indians for over 4000 years.

Lake Merced is an important part of the city’s watershed system as well as a home to a vast number of animals and bird life, including migratory species. Although Lake Merced is well within walking distance from the SFSU campus, it is not a common destination for the SFSU community.

This project is a collaborative rediscovery, or new discovery, of Lake Merced, combining the skills, interests and knowledge of two art and technology courses at San Francisco State University: Artists as Cartographers (led by Paula Levine) and Electronics & Physical Computing (led by Carlos Castellanos). We combined the courses, with students working in collaborative groups that bring together the knowledge, tools and curiosity from both classes. The goal was to imagine a radical change of our relationship to Lake Merced through site work, walks, research, art and experimentation.

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