Hydraulic Societies, Hyperspaces, and Vintage Film in Western America

Downriver existed post-Depression American culture, cheap electricity, futuristic industries, and a hydraulic utopia. Upriver were the tribes’ villages, towns, community grounds, ancient gathering, fishing, and ceremonial places. The 1930s New Deal government purchased shorelines, razed towns, excavated archaeology sites, and relocated over 1300 burials before the rising of the reservoir waters. Oral, filmic, historical, and archaeological materials exhibit the legacy of the Grand Coulee Dam and how it forced an encounter with the death of history. An additional aperture to American dams, cemeteries, and human experience will be Michael Polish’s allegorical film Northfork (2003). For the duration of the presentation, there will be three silent films simultaneously screened, one of the exhumations, a second of the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, and the third Northfork.

 Key Words: Film, Hyperspace, Dams

 Region: American West

 Period: 20th Century and Contemporary

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