OrtaWater - Zille Fluvial Intervention Unit

Date: 2008
Ref: 1357.01
Materials: Austrian Zille boat, painted steel, glass, water bottles, taps, tubbing
Dimensions: 700 x 120 x 180cm
Exhibition history: 2015 ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale, China; 2009 Royal DSM, Holland; 2008 World Expo Zaragoza, Spain
Courtesy: Courtesy of the Artists

The OrtaWater - Zille Fluvial Intervention Unit is one of the emblematic sculptures resulting from Lucy + Jorge’s ongoing research focus, OrtaWater. Over the course of the project they have created a series of low-cost water purification devices that enable filthy, polluted water to be pumped and filtered directly from local rivers and canals. Fully-functioning purification devices are often incorporated into sculptures that are linked to a local water source through a network of pumps, reservoirs, pipes and taps. During exhibitions that have taken place across Europe and China, the artists working with local engineers have purified Venice's Canal Grande and the Emmersingel in Rotterdam (2005), the Hang Pu river in Shanghai (2012), and the Canal de l'Orcq in Paris (2014). Once purified, the drinkable water is bottled and distributed through symbolic actions in each location. The Zillie Fluvial Unit is an immense floating ‘water-bar’ that displays hundreds of commercial water bottles collected from around the world. This work specifically raises questions surrounding the privatization and corporate control that affects universal access to clean water.

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