Imaging and Imagining Water Underground
The Vanishing Point website is a resource that has emerged from a decade of underground research and photographic practice by Michael Cook.
As a form of citizen geography, it has informed community groups, academic projects, and the official work of planners, landscape architects, engineers and archaeologists.
As an artistic practice, this project has produced photographs and other materials that have been published and exhibited in a variety of settings, including as major public installations at the 2013 CONTACT Photography Festival and the 2014 Doors Open Toronto festival.
View the abandoned hydroelectric systems at Niagara Falls
A Word on Seeing and Knowing Infrastructure
One of the reasons that it has been so difficult to get traction around most water issues in our North American cities is that the infrastructure has been allowed to become completely invisible. Everything is in a black box, and as a result we imagine this infrastructure as a ubiquitous network that just works.
The problem that we are coming to grips with is that everything doesn't just work — there were massive tradeoffs and damages in the way that we chose to service our cities. The photography and the historical and geographic research presented on this website is an attempt to make this infrastructure visible so that as a public we are better positioned to participate in and take responsibility for the infrastructure decisions that shape the neighbourhoods, watersheds, and cities that we live in.