6-channel audiovisual installation, 28’48’’

We glide in time, almost unaware of slipping into a future so extreme that even a carefree entity such as water seems treacherous and malevolent. A force so powerful that it has helped electrify our mechanised world. Since ancient times, we tried to harvest it, to contain it, but it evades us and tries to teach us a lesson about frugality and poverty, moderation, and access. I propose not to see water as a sinister entity ready to destroy or deprive life but rather to look at ourselves and ask: “Can we become water? Can we feel what it needs? Where does it want to flow? Who does it want to feed? How does it want to dance? 

I grew up in a house surrounded by water, with a torrential stream in front of it and an old mill canal at the back. I can still smell the damp stale air of the multilayered trauma of an early childhood soaked into conflicts, desires, and primordial fear of the rising torrential water, thunder and lightning. I feel unpleasantly connected to the violent forces of natural occurrences. Two weeks before my artist-in-residency at the Schaubmar Mill, my childhood home was gravely damaged by disastrous floods in Slovenia; only to find the location of my residency in drought. A known spring, Limbašská vyvieračka was waterless. Once, our climate was mild. Now, no one is spared from catastrophes. This brings home the awareness that we are all a part of this world and at the mercy of natural forces. Yet, the violence of the hydrosphere seems alluringly genuine compared to the anaesthetic matrix-like detachment of urban life. Ironically, humans grew a new sense of connection to the world through fear.

I’m drawn to water ecologies and the lush greenery it sustains with clustering plants and billions of little swarming networked creatures. It is the abundance of audiovisual input. In the water itself, no straight lines without a curve exist. Still, humans make straight lines that cut into the fabric of water to suck on its energy. There is a delicate balance in our hydrosphere that can easily collapse.

“Thus, we have to enter into its undulations to feel our bodies perform the geography of waves, the volume of water and the fragile connections between all that moves in its dark expanse.

— Salomé Voegelin, The Political Possibility of Sound (2019, 75)

The sound installation was developed during an artist-in-residency in August 2023 at the Schaubmarov Mlyn in Pezinok, a dislocated unit of the Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava and commissioned by the Mela Festival of Experimental Music.

Related works on water ecology: Voluminous Movement of a Watery Earth, Empathic Atmospheres, oOo Liquid / Water, Against the Current on the River Boat, Safe Place. The Time of Wind and Water, Sounds from the Earthsea, ICEmeltings