Hydromancy 2006
solar stills, water tank, fence pipe, fittings, water, concrete, felt, sound composition
Rubin Center, University of Texas at El Paso

For SIMPARCH’s Hydromancy, water from the Rio Grande flows from a tank at the top of the rocky hillside outside of the Rubin Center. Gravity moves the water through three passive solar distillation units arranged in a descending formation on the hill. The stills use the energy of the sun to heat the water to the point of vaporization, the same process that forms clouds. The condensation that is formed is pure, drinkable water. It is transported down the hill and into the building via an elaborate, erected armature. The water is left to pool on the floor. That which has required human ingenuity and energy to create, lies in a puddle. The water is in its purest state – formless, still, its reflective presence spreading-accumulating at our feet. We engage with the water as a substance rather than as a commodity, relying on the weather to provide the proper conditions for flow. Contrary to the rhythms of nature, cloudy days result in very little distillation, whereas sunny days produce a regular stream.

Hydromancy sound sample