Riverwalking – guided tour (Tijuana River Estuary)


The Tijuana Estuary is an international wetland where waters from Tijuana, Imperial Beach and the Pacific Ocean mix.


Much work has been done to address issues of habitat conservation, maintenance, waste-water management and restoration of this coastal habitat. Seeking a divergent experience of this site, HBI has composed three walks to be experienced either on site, virtually or not at all.


Choose from the following themes and enjoy:







Riverwalking – substance//meaning (Atmospheric River, San Diego)

Atmospheric rivers named into being

Studied by NOAH

The scientist


I walk with forecasts replaying

Weaving videos from videos

Reading clips from others lips


Rivers flow with what is available.

What is available?


To walk in san diego.

A nostalgic movement reflected in receding rivulets.

Movement mediated

by codes

navy zones




How much can it hold?

What does it mean to overflow?

Riverwalking – relationship (Los Angeles River)

An appeal to the LA river

Sent to River Authority March 14, 2016



A proposition to walk the length of what is currently known as the LA River.
A proposition to walk the length of what is currently known as the LA River.



To whom it may concern,


The Helio Butler Institute is requesting the permission of the LA River to walk from its mouth in Long Beach to Canoga Park where tributaries converge. We ask that the governing body presiding over access to this public waterway allow for a three person team of qualified researchers to traverse and document what has become the LA River.


We understand there is no loitering, sleeping or settling along the banks. We will follow the river in constant movement.


We will walk respectfully, careful not to disturb any fragile urban ecologies, constellations of refuse or runoff pools. We will gather only images, sounds and memories that future LA residents can experience as a testament to what once was the river that ran along the 710, 5 and 101 freeways.


The goal is to investigate this neglected backbone of Los Angeles; to rekindle an intimacy with the water that runs through the city, water forgotten with each sip from the Colorado. We feel that this relationship is vital to the survival of the river, a component overlooked in current restoration efforts. We see walking as resistance to the vanishing of this path, a river that is defined by its human engagement.


We respectfully ask permission to walk this waterway as researchers, artists and citizens.


Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.

Thank you and look forward to hearing from you soon.




Maya Land, Alexis Selleck and Nassem Navab

HBI Researchers-at-Large



With no foreseeable response, we hope the person sitting at their computer reading this email at least took a moment to ponder this feat. That for a moment, they thought that this proposal, this intimacy, this restoration was possible.

Riverwalking – Direction: San Diego River



Scramble lists until they don’t make sense

mix salt into water until it becomes pure


the river flows to the sea

the sea flows to the river



transporting children to soccer practice

police to donut shops





this is a layering of

sounds, videos, moments

beginning, middle, end


what happens when they melt

when they bind to form

no beginning

no middle

no end


no banks

no boundaries

no river

Riverwalking – Introduction


This month, three primary researchers-at-large from the Helio Butler Institute for Intraterrestrial Survival (HBI) will embark on a journey of exploration through the waterways of Southern California. Maya Land, Alexis Selleck and Nassem Navab hope to develop an experiential mapping of this region by investigating the physical relationship between bodies and waterways.

Rivers are paths where water walks, paths that have been shaped by both human and geological forces. These waterways are an essential lifeline for human centers, and in the desert of southern California, their presence is even more crucial. The rivers running through Southern California’s desert cities are often either selectively preserved corridors deemed “natural” or suffocated cement canals set into the cityscape. They are sites of mixing, swirling eddies where invasive vines, native trout, human and animal homes, waste and cultural identities collide.

Local participants and HBI researchers will walk various rivers in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, California. Together, this is an act to reclaim the public space and history of rivers. Individually, the intimacy of walking in water encourages a meditative interaction with the river and its synanthropic organisms. Walking in the river becomes dance, a radical way of redefining the relationship between body and place.