Brittany Giunchigliani

MLA I

To Cast a Line in the San Jacinto River

Advised by Emily Wettstein

This thesis addresses agency of the body, of space, and of marginalized lifeways for subsistence fishers near Houston, Texas. It does so through a feminist approach that centers processes of change, instability, and emergence as mechanisms to leverage the fisher community’s embodiment of the landscape through the design of a near-future fishing spot along the San Jacinto River. This project is designed through hurricanes; understood not only as a moment of instability, but as a moment of intensity that generates a closeness to water and a thickness of land at the site of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. Storm surges from seasonal hurricanes play a role in activating change as debris accumulates and deepens the relationship between fisher people, their body, and the fish that they lure.

Line drawing of various people demonstrating varied fishing techniques.

Caption: Black and white collage with image of a wooden fishing pier above a river. In the foreground, overlayed images in color of hands, fish, and feet are collaged on top. Behind that is a light collage of people and their fishing tools in black and white. At the end of the pier, two people are preparing a fishing rod with buckets and fishing tools sitting next to them. The whole image is ephemeral and dark. At the top right of the image, it reads “to cast a line in the san jacinto river”.

Caption: Black and white image of an underwater scene. Framed within the image is the underside of a wooden pier with its pilings, a crab sitting within sea grasses, and watery bubbles collaged on top of the scene. Light annotation details the different moments on the page, including the dimensions of the pilings, the species of grass and crab, and the type of tools needed to go crabbing. On the right side of the image the annotation shows the tidal range and caption of the image that reads, “southern pier”.

Caption: Black and white image of an underwater scene. The water line sits at the top 1/3 of the image and you can see the white stormy clouds above the water. A fishing lure sits at the top of the water with red drum fish swimming below, amongst the sea grass. A blurred fishing pier is in the background where you can see the faint outline of people fishing from it. Light annotation in white font is detailing different moments of the scene: the species of fish, where the materials from the pier came from (ie. what hurricane storm), and the transition zone of the river. On the right side of the image the annotation shows the tidal range and caption of the image that reads, “long pier”.

Caption: Black and white image shows a person crabbing with a net in shallow water. In the middleground of the image, you see John Fuller, a resident of the area who has crabbed here for years. They are wearing white shorts and a black polo shirt and are holding a simple net to catch crabs. In the background of the image, you see white fluffy clouds and a fishing pier. The shoreline is full of emergent vegetation. Light annotation in white font is detailing different moments in the image: The type of seagrass underwater, the plant species on shore, and the materials that the pier is made out of. On the right side of the image the annotation shows the tidal range and caption of the image that reads, “southern pier”.

Caption: Black and white image shows a pier that has been damaged in a storm. The water around it appears to be stormy, dark and the waves are crashing at the wooden pilings. In the distance you see a curved line of wooden pilings that have captured debris from a storm. In the foreground, you see a damaged wooden pier and it’s pilings. Light annotation in white font is detailing different moments in the image: The storm that damaged the pier, and where the debris and materials came from (town and storm). On the right side of the image the annotation shows the tidal range and caption of the image that reads, “western pier”.