Joanne Douglas

Indicator Fibers


Joanne Douglas is an environmental artist and educator currently living and working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Her current position as the Watershed Interpretation Manager at Bartram’s Garden and membership in Kosmologym, an arts and game design collective, informs the research and storytelling that shape her artistic practice. Her work is interdisciplinary and multimedia, using sensory cues to communicate scientific data and cultural perceptions and definitions of space. Joanne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.


At first glance the Schuylkill River appears as two-dimensional. The world beneath the surface is lost and often forgotten by those who use its banks for habitation, work and recreation. My “tool”, a series of hanging dyed pH-sensitive and photochromatic fibers, will seek to bring attention to the world beneath the murky waters of the Schuylkill River by drawing the line of sight of its observer beyond its surface. As the fibers change color with the UV-ray exposure and acidity levels observers will be reminded of the sensitivity of the River and its struggle to sustain life with such rapidly changing conditions.

By making the concept of sensitivity of those things we can’t see with the naked eye, such as slight changes in pH and UV-ray exposure my hope is to begin to engage those who interact the river on a regular basis to think about the sensitivity of the inhabitants below its surface and participate in projects to learn about them and protect them.