WATER SANCTUARY IS A
REPLICABLE SCULPTURE COMPLEX
IT IS A INTERSPECIES PUBLIC BATHING FACILITY
WHERE WATER IS RESTORED
THROUGH GENTLE ENGAGEMENT
water sanctuary is a sacred space that regenerates and restores water as it is enjoyed and engaged. It is a climate customizable sculpture complex, representing the combined knowledge of centuries of transnational indigenous traditions and technologies. Interweaving local naturally available materials, without electricity or mined metals, these rainwater catchment baths engage sustainable science and living ethnobotanicals to engender interspecies kinship and encourage decolonized relation building and reciprocal systems of water stewardship and celebration.
water sanctuaries are medicine for the complex intersectional challenges we face in climate crisis and environmental justice.
they embark on culture change in the strategy tradition of pleasure activism, inviting us into cultures of care, stewardship, body normativity, reciprocal health, common space and resource sharing.
they practice interdependence and kinship and explore microbiological politics, ethnobotanical relationships, and interspecies spaces.
they transform our expectations of our architecture to challenge monoculturalism, extractivism, and colonized relationships with the elements, and offer instead regenerative construction, biomimicry, and indigenous technology.
Though natural building has rich and voluminous place in our species’s history, we have nearly regulated it out of existence, absent in building codes and low in practitioners. Ancient systems of irrigation and power are forgotten as even remote parcels are assimilated into state run grids and privatized parceling. Community practices of group bathing dwindle, gardens are fences, houses become hermetic, and we grow complacent in the single species monoculture of the urban environment. Locked away in lonely boxes, individualizing our lives and creating resource redundancies for services and spaces that could be shared. In the name of germs, safety, liability, earthquake proofing and efficiency, colonizer cosmologies have shaped and stifled our architectonics, asserting that single species environments are acceptable, even preferential and that water is simply a vehicle for waste, not a sacred sibling we need steward if we plan to survive the century. We turn it on and off, disconnected from its source or destination, we wash our hands and our clothes and paintbrushes and our floors with it, we defecate into it, let it roll through oiled streets and force it through aging metallic pipes, so it can exist in convenient interior spaces where it molds and toxifies, where we chase it with Draino and chlorine to scour it’s protests and blockages and toxifications. we have water networks that are harmful to water. And as humans interact with it, we make our water quality worse. We have reached a critical point in which even our rainwater has become toxic.
research, fieldwork and soil studio experimentation
interviews, studio photography, book design and production
documentation photography, sculpture, video and installation
iteration by the artist, made available to community
The temple is entered through a rinse chamber whose ceiling drips with loofah gourds. Pumping just enough from the catchment cisterns for brief preemptive rinse of their chemical creams, humans then reaffix their bamboo showerhead and descend the filtration stairs alongside their greywater. As the water trickles down through sequential troughs of stone, sand, charcoal, corn husks, moringa seeds, zeolite and soil, the human enters the shaded pool chambers, where openings in the walls and eves along the rooves invite insects, birds and animals into the safety of the water hole and the abundant growth that surrounds it. As the human steps into the pool, clear and teaming with aquatic plants and small fish, so too does their water, now filtered and channeled into the terraced pools to gather minerals from the plants, who soak up the droppings of the fish, who snack on the discarded skin cells of the humans as they aerate the pools with their strokes. As their share of water fills the pools, it spills water whose had its mineral fill out to the edible food forest, feeding the surrounding ethnobotanical gardens that regrow the means of filtration, seeping into roots and mycelium and returning to the groundwater to renew the watershed.
DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH + TECHNICAL TESTING
Tek testing, implementation of small scale versions, planting botanicals, exploring materials, interviewing experts, building alongside local practitioners, collecting labs on environmental factors as they evolve under varied conditions, all while photographically documenting the sculptural artifacts and visual experiences that evolve in this research practice
water sanctuary is a modular compilation of ancestral technologies, layered and aligned to filter, host, clean, heal, feed and grow. its work is ecosystem balance, so the practice anchors in radical listening: archival research and interviews with masters and practitioners, alongside construction of scaled tek experiments and chemical observation of the water bodies they sustain and process. this fieldwork seeks to name the ratios and relationships at which the flowing or collected body of water achieves mineral abundance, toxicity filtration, and biodiversity attraction. this work is an intimate exploration of the non-human communities that feed on, live in, benefit from, and rely on the water. the artist approaches the community space first from a habitat design perspective, cultivating dream houses for aquatic botanicals, pollinators, fish and microbes, supporting them to balance their elemental container. like a healthy forest offers clean air, a balanced body offers clean water.