The Water Hole (2008) by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger
Although the description of their work very often seems to be rather cryptic to me, I really love the way how this Swiss couple creates fascinating enigmatic and continously changing worlds of plastic, metal, dead plants, effluent chemicals and banal objects (“Alongside the farting beans, hairy mobile phone spiders hatch from mutating eggs and play with the bones that are scattered around”). I figured out that their main focus is on experimenting with the crystallisation of artificial fertilizer which you can also see in many of their other works.
The Water Hole is one of their large walkable installation spaces. Water holes in this context mean modern forms of water holes: toilets, water bottles, buckets, wash basins etc.
“The dammed water shoots down a thick pipe into the thirsty, booming city below, branching off into millions of smaller pipes until it is swallowed up in wash basins, showers and bathtubs – the urban water holes. Between the ferns and the dripping car wash sponge there lies a dried out landscape. The people of the city barricade themselves in little rooms, mostly alone, to celebrate the urban rituals of the water hole, after which the water is always dirtier than it was before.”
In this installation the situation is turned around: all pipes coming from the urban water holes are interlinked. The water from there is returned to one single place: a water hole, midway of a golden bed.
With this installation the artists are reacting on the climate change, referring to extensive droughts in Australia and in particular in Melbourne. Therefor the artists provide a solution in the end:
“And if the rain truly never comes again, we can still drink our tears. Behind the water hole is the well-camouflaged observation room.” Besides the visitor being able to observe other visitors of the installatuion from outside, the rooms offers options to desalinate his tears.
Pictures and text taken from the artists’ website: Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger.