On the evening of October 27th I had the pleasure of chairing a panel discussion, which part of the V&A museum's 'Every Last Drop' edition of its Friday Lates, explored the potentialities of water as artistic medium. Curated by CLOT magazine, our speaker line-up for the evening comprised dutch artist Berndaut Smilde, RCA PhD researcher Wayne Binitie, and Sam Bompas, co-founder of Bompas and Parr.
Smilde, Binitie, and Bompas each delivered 15-minute presentations in which they discussed the role of water in their artistic works. Smilde, who developed and patented a means of creating temporary cloud formations, presented his world-renown Nimbus Series (see slides and video below), and other projects of a similarly ephemeral nature, including Breaking Light, which was created using a prototype prism that allowed him to "break light at a large scale in order to impose a natural appearance onto its surrounding as a temporary hack in the landscape". Binitie presented both audio and visual works, including the outputs of his collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, which examines the temporal nature of Earth's polar habitats, as well as earlier projects including the One Aldwych Pool Suite. Bompas presented a selection of past works including temporal solid, liquid, and atmospheric water-based structures, thereon, with the aid of an assistant, delivered a live-experiment in the form of the creation of a taste cloud (see slides).
Recurrent themes throughout the panel discussion that followed included the immaterial and transient nature of new and emerging artistic innovations; water-based art as a medium for public engagement in environmental discussions and debates; temporary elemental artistic expressions of the past, present, and possible future; and scalability of water-based solid, liquid and atmospheric visual and audio works and the opportunities and challenges inherent in the process of their creation.
Many thanks to the V&A museum for their flawless hosting the event, and to CLOT magazine for bringing together such a thought-provoking panel.
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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