OrtaWater - Purification Factory
Materials: Factory construction in reclaimed wood and glass, water purification system, water tanks, pipes, various objects, OrtaWater bottles
Dimensions: Installation length approx. 500 x 300 x 540cm
Exhibition history: 2015 Lakenhaal Museum Leiden, The Netherlands; 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale, China
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
OrtaWater focuses on water scarcity and the complex issues surrounding the corporate control of access to clean water. The sculptures and installations Lucy + Jorge Orta create are both playful and provocative, incorporating fully functioning low-cost purification machinery, bottling stations and transportation devices that enable filthy water to be pumped and filtered directly from neighboring polluted water sources. Through the work, the artists' aim is to broaden of our understanding of water availability, the effects of pollution, and to demonstrate simple purification and distribution solutions.
In 2006 Lucy + Jorge Orta made their first visit to China, to research the distribution and consumption of water in rural communities and witness the changes that are occurring due to the massive industrial development. For the Shanghai Biennial commission in the Power Art Museum(2012), they created the OrtaWater Purification Factory, incorporateing water utensils and objects used in popular Chinese traditions; a towering 5-metre watertank made from bamboo and a fully-functioning water purification machine. The 'factory' drew from Shanghai’s main water resource, the Huang Pu river, pumping polluted water from 20-metres below. When you drink the water, remember the spring. Chinese proverb . The OrtaWater Purification Factory was re-installed in Leiden in 2015.
Water purification installations were previously commissioned for the Venice Biennale at the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation (2005) where water from the Grand Canal was pumped into the St Marks Square gallery through pipes linked to all the sculptures, purified, bottled and distributed to visitors. At the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam (2006), filthy Dutch canal water was pumped through a labyrinth of pipes throughout the historical museum galleries into a large filtration device linked to the sculptures.