California Water Rights - CODAworx

California Water Rights

Submitted by Adrien Segal


Location: San Francisco, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team

Industry Resource

Gizmo Art Production

Gizmo Art Production


Created by artist Adrien Segal, fabricated and installed by Gizmo Art Production, this suspended sculpture spans three stories above two diagonal stairways. Over 10,000 feet of ball chain is draped above and around the stairways, hung from a meandering river following the flow of movement and people in the space. The sculpture is a physical representation of 1,072 water users where the length of chain correlates to amount of water. People experience the sculpture to gain an intuitive understanding of the immense amount of water allocated for use in California.The installation is 30’ high and spans the 16’x 32’ opening.


Adrien Segal combined artistic inquiry and scientific research with materiality and design to develop a sculpture depicting the allocation of water rights in California. Drawing from history, landscape, emotional affect, and the senses, her artwork synthesizes scientific research from information into knowledge as an immersive experience. The installation engages viewers with experiential knowledge and invites inquiry into our priorities as a society in how we manage this shared and highly precious resource.
The sculpture was designed to contribute soft lines, flow and delicacy to the angular, industrial space. The opportunity to play with natural and supplemental light, and to lend volume without visual weight also informed the material choices for this site-specific installation.


Adrien Segal proposed the idea for California Water Rights to the client following a site visit during the construction phase, and she developed the site-specific design using data from the agency that regulates water rights users in California. To help realize the large-scale piece, Adrien hired Gizmo Art Production to aid in fabrication and to install the suspended sculpture. The aluminum river panels were water jet cut and welded together, with holes from which the ball chain was hung in a particular order. The strands flow above and around the stairways to create an immersive experience of the sculpture as was Adrien's design intention. The sculpture was pre-assembled on a truss system at Gizmo’s shop where Adrien and Gizmo’s team hung over 1,000 individual chain strands by hand, and it was then transported to the site for permanent installation.