Rina Faletti

Professional Bio 

Rina Faletti (PhD, Art History, 2015, UT Austin) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for the Humanities at UC Merced (2015-2017), in California’s Central Valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada watershed. She is an interdisciplinary historian of art, architecture and the environment who examines visual evidence for symbolic roles that water and engineered water systems play in the development and expression of water-related cultural values that inspire a city’s identity over time. Her current book project, Water’s Double Mirror: Aesthetics of Water and Urban Modernism in California (based on her dissertation) presents a visual analysis of water iconography in public waterworks. She argues that water images have historically reflected California’s identity as a powerful modern water culture. She has also examined Pre-Columbian painted images of water and rain in ancient screenfold codices of Mesoamerica, clairfying ways in which water worked symbolically to express ancient urban cultural values, and she has examined the material form of the first Republican aqueducts of ancient Rome. Faletti’s career includes teaching, exhibition curating and criticism, curriculum design, educational management and social activism. She grew up in the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. She lives in Napa, California.

Area of Expertise 

I am an interdisciplinary historian of art, culture, and the environment (PhD, Art History, 2015, UT Austin), whose research analyzes visual evidence that suggests symbolic roles water systems play in decoding cultural values that inspire a city’s development over time. In my current work, I present in an amply illustrated art-historical analysis, that vivid water imagery related to water works structures has historically reflected California’s identity as the center of a powerful modern water culture. Urban and agricultural prosperity in California is inextricably tied to the successes and failures of water supply provision. I am currently developing curated exhibitions of landscape photographs by watershed scientists and industrial photographers to raise awareness of ways in which water affects landscapes, and ways water landscapes effect cultural values, in California’s Sierra Nevada, Central Valley, and San Francisco Bay Area regions. I also study interconnections among water, landscape and urban cultural values in ancient Mesoamerica and ancient Rome.

Workshop Locations 
Institutional Affiliation 
Professional Title 
Post Doctoral