Water Bowls

0waterwef.jpgThe four Water Bowls, by Victoria Vesna, use of some of the latest scientific observations to revisit common metaphorical associations of water — such as the reflection of the moon, a drop of water, the sound of water, and oil and water. The interactivity is activated when the water is touched in the physical space (Moon and Sound) or influenced via the internet by dropping water and money remotely (Drop and Oil).

When visitors touch the water in the Moon bowl, sounds are created, picked up by an underwater microphone and amplified. An animation of water molecules cycling from a heavily polluted state to clearing and back is then projected onto the water.

Sound is equally activated by 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 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. Online visitors are asked to identify themselves with the Nile, Ganges, Danube, Atlantic Ocean, or any other water body of their choice. The interface then pulls up a topographical map of the chosen location. The location of participants is mapped by tracking the IP 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.

Video presentation; other movies.

The installation is part of Second Natures, an exhibtion curated by Christiane Paul. Second Natures runs until October 26, 2006, at Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, UCLA, Los Angeles.

More water-based works: Water gongs; Music from the pools; Musical droplets; the Blur building; Mocean, a musical environment that invites people to touch, stir and play with water in a tankTouch-sensitive water lights; Drink Water exhibition by Orta; Eavesdripping, Water as physical display; The bathroom as a biotop; Herz Fassen (Take Heart); Sound Flakes; Communication through tears; Breeding Space and Erez Kikin-Gil’s Water Play.