WATER AS POLITICS
Water channels through our blood and underneath our cities, as monument, politics and breath. We are as interconnected to the river systems as we are reliant on the ocean’s current. Current readings of water are no longer enough as we watch resource become commodity, climate change increase and urban areas swell. What happens if we speculate on a future where non-humans are given voice? Berlin and its surrounds becomes a case study for this provocation.
Human relationship to water
Natural entities becoming resource, commodity and industry
Urban relationship to hidden or historical water bodies
Rivers as living entities
RESEARCH FRAGMENTS - WATERWAYS
Water divides cities and nations, carves up ownership and land rights, inhibits access and offers sanctuary. It embodies all survival, as flow, eddy and stream. Water channels through our blood and underneath our cities, as monument, politics and breath. In the same moment we are both within, and composed of, bodies of water. We are as interconnected to the river systems as we are reliant on the ocean’s current. We are as bound to water as the dry soil beneath our feet.
What happens if we speculate on a future where non-humans are given voice? Will this enable us to reimagine our relationship with the environment? Does this offer a space for ecological systems to heal in a time of climate crisis?
Shifting the hierarchy of the human is indeed necessary, offering an adjustment of land as resource, geology as static and colonisation as a marker of history. What invisible forces are active beneath our cities that need to be exposed? Hydrology sits alongside ecology, geology and memory as hidden traces embedded in place. This research draws from the premise that there is value in building connection to these latent conditions of Site.
The medium of film is beneficial as both a form of experimentation in the creative process as well as an accessible way of disseminating complex information. It has shown to be an incredibly useful tool to communicate research that is often siloed in the academic space. Film has the power to confront an audience in a way that other mediums often cannot. It is through film that I hope to repair people’s connection to the environment, re-imagining a world in which we are a part of its complexities, ecological and other, rather than a creator of them.
Berlin offers a place where water divides, carves up, inhibits and offers sanctuary. It is monument, politics and breath. Water infrastructure tunnels through the city, The Spree a visible branch, manages flows from afar. Pipelines for groundwater management appear sporadically and old water towers appear in the skyline. A new relationship with water needs to be formed, as precipitation decreases, climate change increases and urban areas swell, these old markers of water are no longer enough.
“Human lives do not simply need and use water, but are inextricably shaped by their relationship with it… To see people as being disassociated from and simply users of planetary items relies on a mental or thought rift between the way in which people are seen and the way in which land, seas, skies, plants and so on are understood.”
Luci Attala, "How water makes us human"
“Blood, bile, intracellular fluid; a small ocean swallowed, a wild wetland in our gut; rivulets forsaken making their way from our insides to out, from watery womb to watery world: we are bodies of water.”
Astrida Neimanis, "Bodies of Water"
RESEARCH FRAGMENTS - URBANISTIC
Astrida Neimanis: How to Become a Body of Water
Lessons on Hydrofeminism - video