The website is up!
I’ve emerged from a long weekend of rendering 3D models, coordinating media queries, and trying to remember my FTP password. We still have some additional content to add; some of it might be up by the time this is posted, and other content will likely be added in the coming weeks (and months?).
This project began as an open-ended conversation across the Atlantic, and that’s more or less how we’re wrapping it up. The website is part educational tool, part call-to-action, and part future imagineering. It leans a little harder towards the educational angle, and the forthcoming material will definately focus more on speculative design—the part of the project that most resembles visual art. As it is, it’s been a great design challenge, and there is a wealth of information collected among all the links for further learning.
There’s a this impressive database of laboratories willing to analyze your water (thanks EPA!), this online tool for finding your local watershed (thanks EPA!), and this immersive website for learning more about your water’s source and contents (thanks… Pur water filters).
Our site has an animated overview of municipal water treatment, and a crash course on fracking—which continues to be a contentious issue here in Pennsylvania. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, science education has been a surprisingly big issue in the U.S. lately, with a science march of Washington and a national focus of media literacy and fact-checking.
That said, I think the website would grow to include more interactive tools, and ways to connect people on issues relating to water. In the first two weeks of President Trump’s administration, it’s been exciting to see the birth of new web platforms like Indivisible, Swing Left, 5 Calls, WTF Just happened today, and myriad other ways to “Code Against Trump.”
Paz and I have briefly mentioned the idea of speculative design, and how we were approaching the study of water science though imagining alternative technologies or experiences. With the launch of the website, I put together some concept art for one such design: a water profiler that could be used to add minerals to your water (to supplement the more traditional approach of removing contents). The gadget is meant to be read as a sketch, and as such, I’m sure there’s a better way to attach such a device to your plumbing, but the mere idea of hacking your tap recasts water as an interactive recipe and draws attention to the invisible components of something we take for granted.
I’ve got at least one more piece of speculative water technology to post, and I believe Paz will have some additional content to add soon. It’s been tough collaborating online, but the residency has provided an opportunity to research and write about topics outside my usual purview. I’m excited to see what the other teams produced, and while I’ve done my best to keep up with their blogs, I look forward to reading them at length now that we’ve reached the end of the program.
Visit our other residency group's blogs HERE
Paz Tornero is an artist, visiting professor at the University of Caldas in Colombia, researcher at the University of Murcia, Faculty of Fine Arts in Spain, and visiting fellow at the Institute of Microbiology (USFQ) in Ecuador.
Benjamin Andrew is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, storyteller, and Instructor at Pennsylvania State University.