Keti Haliori is a conceptual, new media artist living and working in Athens. She creates interdisciplinary projects, concerning the Darwinian and technological evolution, the divine, the universal-cosmic information and the consciousness. Her work also deals with humanitarian and environmental issues.
During the years 2008–2010, she protested for the refugees who were victims or survivors of shipwrecks and minefields. She made public actions and installations at the entrance gates-host of Chios, Alexandroupolis, Lavrion and in major urban centres of Athens and Thessaloniki. Since 2011, she has activated the World Water Museum installation, a permanent interactive project about the global lack of water and creates and curates water projects and workshops.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH WATER
I was born and raised in the rocky and dry Greek island with the contradictory name: Hydra. According to beliefs, the island has been known since ancient times as Hydrea and later times Hydra, which comes from the Greek word “water”, a reference to the island’s natural rich resources.
My whole family and relatives had to do with the sea. Maybe the reason why water is the main theme of my works is my island roots.
My childhood memories are full of cisterns, wells, housewives filling their buckets, small tanks with tap in the kitchens, the impressive huge aquifer sea askos and the phrase “don’t waste water”.
Our lives were depending on the weather! Rain was a blessing and every winter we were looking forward to the rainy days! The first rain was to clean the roof tiles and the second to fill in the cisterns. However, water was still scarce and the island was supplied with additional water from other places. The extra water was brought by the aquifers. The earliest years it was carried by a huge aquifer sea askos and later by an aquifer ship. Although there is a desalination system for a few years now the lives of the locals still depend a lot on the water that they carefully collect in the cisterns.
My house is on the central stone road that comes up from the port to the mountain. The pavement curbs at each side are unusually high up to 60-70 cm. Visitors are always surprised and ask why they are made so high! The road is named after a hero but residents prefer to use its previous old name which was “The River”.
In winter, the road called “The River” overflows due to the rushing water coming from the mountain. The high pavement curbs protect the houses keeping water out and locals use boards as makeshift bridges to cross over. I was always looking forward to the rains to see the … “river” from my window and the people balancing on the temporary bridges.
My island Hydra, the cisterns, the wells, the aquifer, the haunted phrase “don’t waste water”, the euphemistically named “River” in from of my house, have been the stimuli for getting involved with water when I realized the serious environmental issue of the existing, but also of the previously announced huge future shortage of clean drinking water on the planet.