Explore each water bowl in the installation

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WATER BOWLS: moon ~ drop ~ sound ~ oil

by Victoria Vesna
In collaboration with: Tyler Adams (sound), John Houck (software art), James Gimzewski (science / concept)
Production: Osman Khan, Paul Wilkinson, Anne Niemetz, Morrow Pettigrew, John Rooney
Sponsors: The David Bermant Foundation, Veeco Instruments

Year: 2006
Country: USA
Networked installation: computers, projectors, light, speakers, polycarbonate plastic bowls, tap water, used motor oil, copper coins, sensors, underwater microphones.


March 30-July 1, 2007 Feedback
Opening of the Laboral gallery
Gijon, Spain


August 10, 2007 Nature Designs
Design Museum
Zurich, Switzerland


Sept 13 - Oct 26, 2006 Second Natures
Opening of the Broad Art Center
University of California Los Angeles


Aug 2 - Aug 4, 2006 ParticipART
Museum of Modern Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy


July 21 – July 31, 2006 3rd Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and Symposium
Code : Blue – Confluence of Currents
New Media Center, China Millennium Art Museum
Beijing Cubic Art Center, Dashanzi Art District (Factory 798)
Beijing, CHINA


Project Description

Four water bowls reflect different aspects of water related to the collective, global human condition. Some of the most common metaphorical associations of water -- such as the reflection of the moon, a drop of water, the sound of water, and oil and water -- are revisited through the use of some of the latest scientific observations. Moon and Sound are locally interactive and Drop and Oil are interactive both locally and remotely, emphasizing the global connectivity of water / human systems, beyond borders.

In Moon, visitors are invited to touch the water; the sounds created by their interaction are picked up by an underwater microphone and amplified. An animation of water molecules cycling from a heavily polluted state to clearing and back is projected onto the water.

Sound is equally activated by a person's touch, which generates a disturbance of the water reflection and allows the person to feel the vibration of sounds based on underwater pollution (such as sonar frequencies, explosions and submarines) as well as whale sounds and cell vibrations.

In Drop, a drop of water released into the bowl breaks the surface and triggers images derived from maps of waterbodies that ripple away. At the project website, visitors can remotely release this water drop from a dispenser suspended above the bowl in the exhibition space. Upon entering the web site, visitors are asked to identify themselves with a body of water, such as the Nile, Ganges, Danube, Pacific, Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea or any other water body of their choice. The online interface then pulls up a topographical map of the chosen location. The location of participants is mapped by tracking the IP (Internet Protocol) address of their computer and pairing it on the map with the body of water with which they identify. They can then add a water drop to the bowl. The topographical map and the visitor's position on it are also projected onto the bowl in the exhibition space.

The Oil bowl contains both water and oil, which appear as clearly separated substances. At the project website, visitors can make a wish (by typing it in) and remotely release a copper coin into the bowl from the dispenser above it. The wish is projected onto the oil and visible on the wall behind the bowl as a visualization of dissolving particles.

A live video feed at the website allows online participants to see how their actions affect the water bowls in the exhibition space.

Watch the Water Bowls overview video (~9.5 mb): quicktime | realmedia