The Chicago River Confluence marks where the main and north branches of the river merge to create the south branch, connecting the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Just like where the branches collide, the city attracts a wide range of unique voices and talents which inform and influence one another. The confluence is a physical location that marks the transition of the natural order of the flow of the Chicago River, where it was reversed through human intervention in 1900 from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi River.
Confluence, by definition, refers to geology. A more elaborate definition involves the act of merging. Just as the north branch and main branch of the river converge to create a new body of water (the south branch,) “Confluence” is a colliding of diverse artistic voices to form a cohesive group. The role of an artist has long been compared to the role of an alchemist; the artist as a person who is capable of transforming raw materials into something entirely new, but this alchemy is not limited to materials, it extends to ideas, to beliefs, and to our collective state of mind. It is particularly within intersectionality that empathy and introspection are made highly accessible; and it is particularly in these tepid times in which empathy and introspection is a necessity.
Art – whether visual, cinematic, or literary- has the ability to provide clarity, to create cohesion from diverse outlooks, to investigate our failures or successes. By forming an intersection of disparate, incendiary artistic voices, “Confluence” aims to create coherence from incoherence, and to find growth in the moments of disarray.