Trying to impart the idea that our planet has a serious water shortage is a real challenge. It's most especially difficult to convince those of us that have hot and cold running water day and night that we really need to conserve this precious resource. A new exhibition at the Z33 Gallery in Belgium aims to bring the message home using creative installations from artists and designers discussing cultural attitudes towards water and the many ways in which it is used and often abused. The show's title '1% Water' relates to the fact that while 70% of our planet's surface is water, only 3% of this is freshwater and even more shocking is that only 1% is suitable for human consumption.Creative curation
1% Water has been conceived and curated by designer Ilse Crawford and design consultant Jane Withers. Together they have created an eclectic mix of graphics, sculptures and design works which relate in a myriad of ways to life's integral relationship with water.
From amphibians to the water cooler
In the images above we can see Brandon Ballengée's Malamp (top left), a series of x-rays of deformed amphibians, which are described as the "environmental 'canaries in the coalmine'". The Water Archive (top middle) has been created by collecting samples of water from the Hasselt region of Belgium where the Z33 Gallery is based. There are samples taken from rivers, lakes, groundwater, bottled water, religious water, sewage, tap water and even a water bed. Doshi Levien's Matlo (top right) shows the Anglo/Indian design studio's new approach to the traditional terracotta water storage vessel, which cools water water naturally using evaporation.
From rainwater collection to the subconscious
In the images below you can see work by Jordi Canudas (below left), his Rain Catcher shows a beautiful and simple solution to rainwater collection for those without a garden. The award winning Lifestraw (below right) is also featured - the useful drinking tool that can remove 99% of waterborne bacteria and viruses. Amy Jenkins's projections (below centre) of a woman in the bath deal with "water as a metaphor for fertility, creativity and the subconscious."
Other artists and designers included in the exhibition are Karlssonwilker, Studio Orta, Atelier Van Lieshout, Edward Burtynsky, Masuru Emoto and Ideo. We love the imaginative approach used to address this very serious environmental issue and the show demonstrates how art and design can help us to look at something as basic as water in new and challenging ways. Behavioural change is often precipitated by a shift in perspective. It's that new way of seeing that can help us to find those critical environmental solutions.
For those who can't make it to Belgium watch this space for news of this exhibition going on tour.
Other related articles:
Design for the other 90% - Exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt
Design and the Elastic Mind - Exhibition at Moma
Amazingness - Exhibition about Urban Nature
Envisioning Change - Climate Change Exhibition