A list of projects selected for SCANZ 2015:water*peace

Fluid City

Fluid City by Charlotte Šunde and Alys Longley

Fluid City

Fluid City is a SCANZ 2015 project, shown here is the version at James Cook High School, Manurewa, 16 October 2014. Photo by James Hutchinson.

For the SCANZ 2015 residency, we propose to redevelop the Fluid City content in relation to the local environment and cultures of the Taranaki region. This will be developed in the form of a short water film (for the roving cinema); interviews and stories from locals including tangata whenua from Parihaka marae, farmers, school children, artists, musicians, poets and other residents; and fragments of creative writing or environmental sound (for the roving vessel of stories); and fresh water samples collected from streams and other significant waterways around the Taranaki district (for the roving laboratory). We intend to gather this material in concert with and informed by the local hosts of the SCANZ residency.

In addition, a new site-specific choreographic performance (to be performed in and around the Fluid City site) will be created to accompany the water vessels. We will work with our hosts to attract locals to participate in the dance performance work, guided by a dance teacher from the Fluid City collective. Fluid City creates a space where the general public can engage informatively with ideas and issues around water sustainability, and can also contribute their knowledge and questions through, for example, writing postcards for display or telling stories which are then recorded and added to an interactive audio installation.

Fluid City is an installation for diverse communities of all ages that brings alive issues of water sustainability through a roaming science lab, cinema and vessel of stories. The project is a mobile and transportable art-science collaboration that brings researchers into contact with members of the public in ways that are informative, interactive and inventive. This work invites visitors into embodied engagements, to discover through kinaesthetic, tactile, auditory, visual and interrelational modes. It takes the form of three cupboard-like vessels (that we refer to as ‘roving reservoirs’) towed by bicycles. Each of the three vessels has a unique emphasis.

One is a mini-cinema that invites the passers-by to come in close and peer through a diving mask into the vessel to view a film about water. The film is a three-minute animation featuring water in a variety of abstract and functional forms (the reservoir, mountain stream, flowing across the road, entering a stormwater drain, spilling into its sink/the harbour or ocean), including mundane, everyday uses (irrigating the garden, boiling peas, taking a shower). Few words are employed. The moving image has proven captivating to all ages.

A second vessel is a scientific mini-laboratory that enables participants to test water samples collected from local waterways. The reconstructed mobile laboratory houses a powerful microscope and a range of test tubes on display. Participants don white lab coats and select a test tube sample, identifying its source from an accompanying map of the collection sites in their local catchment. The audience will be guided by a qualified microbiologist who can explain what is typically invisible to the naked eye: the microbial worlds of their waterways as active, colourful, alive – explaining differences in water quality that distinguish a forested stream from a polluted waterway.

The third vessel provides a space for people to sit (on upturned buckets with cushions) and listen through headphones to different voices sharing a variety of stories, poems, songs and scientific explanations about water in its myriad forms. The audience is also invited to share their personal memories and concerns about water through writing or drawing on postcards (which we will design) and to then contribute this writing to a kind of washing line set up along the river-side space. This will create a tapestry of stories, issues, thoughts and pictures of water reflecting a multiplicity of meanings and ideas.

A River Runs Through Us by Ava Werner

Water reflects connections and is an essential element, without which life would not be possible. This connection I want to draw attention to because it is through this connection and understanding of our environmental crisis, that we might learn to work together to achieve a peace. Peace with nature and peace with each other as we are all interdependent on each other and the choices we make about our water supplies.

As water travels downstream from the melted runoff in the mountains it comes to different junctions along the way. Some are minor and uneventful and some are pivotal and challenging. These junctions mark areas of human intervention. The river picks up this activity and carries it on to the next junction. The water forever changed.

I will trace the water route of a selected river in New Zealand and find the significant intersections of change or invasive human/animal activity. Samples of the water will be collected at these junctions. The water will then be analyzed for its chemical properties. Once all the collections have been made the water from each junction will be put into glasses. These glasses will be labeled with their content. Those glasses will be displayed in an installation. The water from all the collections will be combined in one pitcher of water. Next to that pitcher will be an empty glass. Projected into the pitcher will be a video of the exhibition visitors.

Water Links: active reflections by James Werner

Water Links uses locative media with audio and video capture. It allows the public to actively seek and participate in the art work, as it provides a place for their own creative input on issues of water and peace. The project will utilize locative media so that visitors can identify key locations within the larger event area. The participants can find some installation stations randomly, or use a GPS device with application interface to locate them all. Each physical location will be equipped with recording and projection devices and will allow visitors to record their perspectives on topics surrounding local water and peace concerns. Footage of participants will be edited in a final video piece for night time projection.

The work embraces the active participation of the community and offers the opportunity for reflection and creativity by visitors. During the two week residency we will learn details about the community and local history surrounding water and its impact. We would like to collaborate with communities in New Zealand. Each installation station will focus audience reflections on critical issues learned during the residency and in the exhibition.

Words for Water by Tracey Benson


Words for water is an exploration into the many aspects of the chemical of H20. Water makes up over 70 per cent of the human body, it is essential for sustaining life and has massive social and cultural significance.

Water may seem ubiquitous, but it has some rather uncommon properties. At the atomic level, water can influence how life and landscapes form, such as how water moves through a plant and how rivers meander around bends. It is also the only chemical that be formed in three states – vapour, liquid and solid.

My focus will be on expanding an ongoing project that uses augmented media tools to evoke a meditative work focusing on the concept water. Stage 1 of “Words for Water” was presented at the MARart exhibition held as part of ISMAR2013 (The International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality).

By using a visual ‘trigger’ audiences are able to use their mobile phones and hand held devices to access the work. The work is designed to be totally transportable and ‘fluid’, allowing people to access the work from both physical and virtual spaces.

The process for developing the content has involved using online social networks to gather the word for water in many languages. To date I have gathered over thirty languages, including eight Indigenous Australian languages. This project seeks to raise awareness of the significance of water to humanity – its critical importance to our existence: spirituality, culture, health and ecological sustainability.

At the SCANZ residency, the goal is to build on the collaborative aspect of this project by engaging other residents and participants to add their stories about water.

The intention is to also exhibit the existing video piece as a projection and as an augmented media work in the exhibition/screening.

This project is seen as an evolving dialogue about the importance of water to all humanity and our need to acknowledge water as integral to life and spirit.



Useful links




This description comes from the proposal for SCANZ 2015:water*peace