From the dawn of humanity, rivers and lakes have been invested with mythological and spiritual significance. They have been associated with humanity’s survival and have given rise to the birth of civilizations. Until the present day, they have been a symbol of life, joy, divinity, catharsis, power, euphoria, growth. Nowadays, however, this vital relationship is in jeopardy, due to water shortages and contamination.
The “World Water Museum” (WWM) was conceived following the awareness of the enormous scale of the environmental destruction but also the risks due to the privatization of water sources. Its design began in 2009 and its implementation in 2011. On April 28, 2011, in “Technohoros” gallery in Athens, WWM organized an awareness-raising activity, communicating to the public the nature of the idea and methods of the project, and presented the first samples. Finally, the public was invited to participate in the dissemination of the idea.
The art project proposal seeks to motivate people from any part of the world, to choose a river or a lake and volunteer to send in a water sample. The water flies around the world! It is transferred along air routes from any point of the globe, all the way to the collection site and WWM installation. It also traverses digital pathways through the videos and pictures sent in by volunteers. It flies to the analysis labs. It interconnects the collection and analysis sites on the world map. It also connect s the sampling points on the world map. First and foremost, however, its symbolic dimension potently conveys an ecumenical message, uniting peoples and ideas under one common vision.
– For the realization of the Project acts advisory group of experts from the fields of art and science.
– The Project is under the auspices of the Greek Committee of Hydrogeology and is implemented with the participation of the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry Department of Chemistry at the National University of Athens.
– The chemical analyzes of the samples carried out in laboratory ‘Yperaksia’ by Mr. John Kyriacou in Lamia.
– In its formal website of WWM posted scientific essays related to water.
- The project does not carry out a factual scientific research of the condition of the world rivers or lakes water sources. Its completion will constitute a symbolic collection of the samples of water which was conducted at an unspecified place and time, so that the present space-time picture of the river waters is presented-whatever that may be- without the application of scientific criteria and selective procedures. For the above reason, the pollution levels of the area where the samples will be taken are not a prerequisite for the samples. Along with the video, the sampling coordinates and the information about the river/lake framing the voluntary participation, enrich the collection and create the euphemistically Museum.
METHODOLOGY AND IMPLEMENTATION
At the website, www.worldwatermuseum.com you can get regular updates on the development and progress of the project and this is where the project organizers post all notifications. Each participant, after completing the corresponding form and declaring that s/he agrees to the terms of the project, can send one or more samples from different rivers or lakes
The installation consists of:
1. The collection of glass, heat-proof, conical laboratory vials, each containing 500 ml from a specific sampling procedure.
2. A big laboratory flask containing the symbolic “Earth Water” in which 100 ml of each of the samples taken is added, thus continuously increasing the level of the water.
Use of the sample
Minimum 1 ½ liter of water (1500 ml) needs to be collected from each sample from river or lake. After receiving the sample:
1. 500ml sent for the analysis of the laboratory
2. 500ml placed in a vial and added in the installation
3. 100 ml mixed with the “Earth’s Water”
4. 400 ml stored.
For each water sample, the following items shown on the official website:
- The video documentation of sampling
2. The date and the coordinates and the map of the point of sampling
3. Photograph of the sample-bottle
4. Sampler’s personal information* (Resume, photo, company profile, website etc.)
5. The information material of the river / lake
6. The laboratory sample analyzes
*The name is required.
The chemical analyzes carried out are the following concerning the physical characteristics of the water:
pH 20°C, Conductivity 20°C, Total Residue > 105 °C, Suspended Solids, Hardness Total, Alkalinity Total, Phenolphthalein Alkalinity, Residual Hardness, Chloride, S.A.R., Potassium, Bicarbonate, Carbonate, Sulfate, Phosphate, Ammonium, Nitrate, Magnesium, Calcium, Nitrite.
When the 500 ml of liquid are added, they are simultaneously sterilized, with the addition of copper ions.
The second sterilization procedure (when it is necessary to be done) is implemented by the Environmental Science Faculty of the National & Kapodistrian, University of Athens.