• HOLY
  • 2015
  • Installation
  • display dummy, sand, cardboard box, drinking water in plastic pots
  • 100 x 100 x 82 cm
  • Kerstin Weichsel
Water and Man—autopoiesis run into the ground

The largest reservoirs of water are our oceans. The sun’s energy heats the water, part of it condenses. Condensation creates vapor which rises into the atmosphere. As precipitation, the water travels back into streams and rivers and on into the seas. On dry land, it recharges the groundwater table. The hydrologic cycle works just fine without humans, but man cannot live without clean drinking water. For us, water is actually the number one nutrient. In fact, two-thirds of the human body consists of water. The billions of cells in our organism that are continuously dividing and renewing themselves need sufficient amounts of clean water. Despite all this, the way we treat this precious resource is autodestructive at best. The oceans keep accumulating contaminated waste; the forests, in particular the tropical rain forests, are being cut down; industrial-style farming uses ever more pesticides … Water consumption for crops and the production of foodstuffs and consumer goods is enormous: a person in western Europe uses up 130 liters—per day—of water and approx. 4000 liters of virtual water. Both water quality and water quantity are irreplaceable for maintaining our biosphere.
“Run into the ground:” The term `autopoiesis´ designates a system that creates and then maintains itself. Short-sighted human interventions into the ecological balance can be seen, and felt, as failures. HOLY—ultimately cognate with `whole´—to me means that man is part of a whole. Our deeds and acts should be directed by this. We are but one of many species on this planet and, as evolution goes, even a relatively recent one.
The title for my piece is taken from the product name HOLY, printed on a cardboard box I found in a small storage room while doing globalization research on Bali in the spring of 2015. The box is for ‘Holy Mood’ drinking water, sold in throw-away plastic cups.