Post-pandemic Future for a World of Water

Post-pandemic Future
for a World of Water

" Venice hasn't seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us "
wrote Luca Santis, a self proclaimed photographer and Twitch streamer on Twitter on March 17th 2020, still days before Italy started to flatten its curve of COVID-19 cases. Speculative scenarios, not unlike the one presented in the 'dolphin Tweet' of Luca Santis, are at the core of many design practices that have taken on the global challenge to prevent catastrophic climate change. In order to have a chance of succeeding several issues need to be addressed; For example, the establishment of a widespread believe that the future can be changed as well a thorough, tangible understanding of the elementary matter and materials we have at our disposal today, which help to support this change.

The Water Everywhere studios will be an attempt to contribute to this cause. Four Studios, each with their own, unique yet complementary perspective on the role and meaning of water will collaborate in a joint effort to come up with new insights and potential solutions for one of the most wicked problem(s) of our time: the global sea level rise.

The first Studio (lead by Prof. Rachel Armstrong from Newcastle University) will focus on 'Water as Matter' and invites participants on a remote and temporary quest for ways in which water, as we know it, can be investigated as source, medium and matter and at the same time, regain meaning through artistic practice.

In this meta level approach and in depth take on new material ideologies, water will be reimagined through experimental investigation methods, visualization and materialization. Processes that, after two intensive weeks of on- and offline discours, will result in highly unexpected outcomes of artistic research.
Water as Matter
Water Everywhere studios
Four Studios, to come up with potential solutions for one of the most wicked problem(s) of our time: the global sea level rise.
The second Studio, embraces a more micro level applied approach and will focus on dissecting and transforming tools that can be (re-)used and developed collectively to explore the material properties of water.

By questioning the actual tools and technologies that allow us to extract valuable information from water, the ways in which this reactive material can be sculpted into meaningful new messages can take on exciting new forms. Over the course of two weeks a so called 'Water Station' will be equipped with analog, digital and hybrid tools that will be put to immediate use to create explorative new (digital) interfaces, objects(s) and experiences that allow people to interact, connect or engage with water in a critical and meaningful way.
Water Station
The third Studio tries to tackle water on a meso level, questioning the role of creatives and the importance of actual 'making' in steps that can be taken today towards more preferable yet likely wetter futures in which less traces of human activities are left behind on the planet.
For two consecutive weeks the participants of 'Water Cities' will investigate, observe and replicate elements of symbiosis found in nature and actively engage in urban interventions that can be realised in the 'here and now' through usage of designed artefacts and provocations/'provotypes'. By playfully and critically responding to water(management) issues within water cities like Venice (Italy), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Suzhou (China) participants will contribute to contemporary urban resilience while making our potential future habitat in the wet Symbioscene of tomorrow more tangible.
The fourth Studio will primarily situate itself in the future and focus on water from a macro level. Within 'Water Worlds' participants approach our world from an extra planetary/non human perspective in order to develop radical imaginings that reach beyond the current limitations of human centred technology, culture and politics. The creation of visually communicative and critical narratives, concepts and design artefacts to envision alternative futures/future scenarios for a world dominated by water plays a vital role in this Studio. By exploring ways in which these futures can be made tangible and desirable in the present, the aim is to develop strategies trigger future stakeholders future stakeholders to act/agree on their relevance today and discuss the responsibilities for the long term implications of the effects of turning speculation into realization.
Water Cities
Water Worlds
Come to Venice with us next summer
and dive into one of our four Studios!
This project is a joint programme between the European Cultural Academy
and the Willem de Kooning Academy