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Diminishing Returns , 2010

by Scott Keyes


Mediums: Mural, Mixed Media

Location: Downtown; Grain Silo 3417 Vinton Street Omaha, NE

Owner: Emerging Terrain

Series: Stored Potential

Additional Information: Hidden underground, the alarming depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer literally lacks visibility. When California native, Scott Keyes, began doing research for his Stored Potential submission and for the first time learned of the diminishing Ogallala Aquifer, he saw the potential to make this hidden resource visible. By taking advantage of the silo’s enormous height to create a 1:1 scale model of well 5N 40W28CDA, a groundwater irrigation unit located in Chase County, Nebraska, Keyes creates a tangible snapshot of the region’s precarious relationship to its most invaluable natural resource. Using USGS data gathered since 1970, historical water levels within the well are marked at five year intervals along the silo’s interior – the walls that once contained the commodity created by confluence of sun energy and underground water. The jury agreed that by rendering this important water issue visible, this submission represents a byproduct of the region’s agricultural legacy which is as real and concrete as the abandoned silos on which it is situated.

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