Artist in Residence/Interim at Srishti
Water lab at Venkatappa Art Gallery together with the students at Srishti.
We take water for granted and we act as passive users, we do not question where our water comes from.
Together we collected water from all around Bangalore, we discussed and created a water installation. All water was documented with numbers. I am curious about the stories and contents that water holds and the social-cultural significance. ‘Whose water are you using at the end of the day?’ Water and natural colour can provide indications to changes in the urban space. It all comes down to the water in the end; its quality, its content, composition, the microorganisms it carries and the stories it brings; water is a carrier, a communication medium. Water is the blood of the earth. Almost 75% of our body being composed of water. The salt content in our cerebrospinal fluid is roughly the same as the salt content in the ocean. We are all interconnected through water and we can communicate through water.
Through collecting water we become closer to the water, its colour, the land, the landscape, plants, the waters infrastructures and ourselves. People become equal actors and we begin to come physically close to its different states. Water is living, but that also means it can die. This experience will mould your sensibility to life. Water comes from the tap, rivers, lakes, waste water after washing our clothes, ourselves with soap and shampoo. What do we leave behind in our water, what goes out as waste water, do we pay any attention to all the waste we flush away and that this same water will come back sooner or later into my system or as drinking water in some form.
Bangalore has had 280 lakes and only 80 remain, lot of these are seriously polluted with sewage and industry waste. Climate change and erratic monsoons that have hardly provided any rain for the last years. Bangalore with its flowering gardens, bougainvillea flowers that can survive quite hard draughts. But lakes and rivers so polluted they froth up when it does rain, and sometimes even catching fire. Groundwater has sunk dramatically, Bangalore will soon be challenged with water scarcity, and maybe even need to be evacuated in the future?
At the opening we also had a dinner performance/storytelling together. ‘Are we dyeing or are we dying?’ Challenging both food culture, behaviour, moral, ethics; do not play with food, ‘don’t waste’ and the fear of getting food stains on our clothing or the white table cloth. We clean off any stain with stain removal and other harsh chemicals, washing it out and destroy our water for the sake of a white table cloth, or clothing which was once bleached and our fear of stains or marks from food.
Once turmeric was used with a little of vinegar creating a strong yellow or with an alkaline provider it gave red. Turmeric is so healthy for human and in addition it can provide this beautiful colour. The interesting thing is that we are considering these natural colours not to be colour fast and the typical story goes long with that it will fade; but on the other hand we are afraid of getting any colour from food spots on our clothes because these colours give stains that are very difficult to take away.
Food culture, colour from plants and water are all interconnected. We often overlook the importance of food colour and pigment in our health – the importance of natural colour in our lives – and the importance of water to our survival.