I am very honoured to collaborate with Joya: arte + ecología on a experimental research project that explores the potential of sculptural forms to gather dew and rainfall.
The sculptures will funnel and direct scarce rainfall and dew to swales on terraced land to assist in the growth of food and trees. The collection of moisture on the sculptures will help to form habitats for birds and insects for pollination of the plants and trees. The sculptures will be monitored and adjusted over a period of a year to establish the most efficient form for each of the functions.
Since 2007, I have been working on a series of water projects in various local and global contexts under the collective title of “Water Conversations’. The ongoing projects look at water from social, cultural, political and sacred perspectives to build a global map of waters socio-political & cultural meanings in a time of uncertainty due to climate change, changing global patterns of food production and rural depopulation.
What interests me most about water is its essentiality. Waters’ cultural meanings are global commonalities expressed through mythological cycles, language, ritual and sensory experiences related to how the individual experiences water in their environment. Water as an element is ever changing, its physical presence is characterised by transmutability, metamorphosing in reaction to environmental conditions.
Its ability to shape-shift from solid, liquid and vapour forms and back again, the physical properties of waters’ hydrogen bond makes it as complex in chemical terms as the complexities of the cultural meanings encoded in water. The practices and rituals surrounding water in all its forms run deep in the human psyche,
‘The meanings themselves- water as spirit, as life, as social, connective substance, as wealth and power, as generative source and regenerative sea, as nature, id, emotion and unconscious- all of these permeate the interactions people have with water.’*
Climate change brings uncertainty to this watery exposure as rainfall patterns change globally. This interruption to the known practices associated with water in domestic, industrial and agricultural environments requires innovation and resilience in communities to adapt, finding new ways to manage and consume finite water resources.
* Victoria Strang, The Meaning of Water, 2006.