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 University of El Paso’s 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 condensation that is formed is pure, drinkable water that continues down the hill and into the building via a simple armature that perforated the gallery wall. The water flowed as a stream in the heat of the afternoon, or at a slower rate at the beginning and end of the day.  Gallery goers were offered paper cups to drink this distillate, but most of the time the water was left to pool on the gallery floor. Water was presented in its purest state, formless and allowed to spread and accumulate on the gallery floor. It was further aestheticised by a spotlight that projected the ever-changing puddle onto an adjacent wall, creating a de facto cinematic representation of our most essential substance.  

Hydromancy sound sample