Retrospective 2020: Embassy of Water
Water is the most common material on Earth and flows from our taps by the litre every day. It is there to be used by people, so it seems. But do we maybe take water for granted? What is the actual need of water?
At the Embassy of Water this year, we listened to the voice of water. What does water need to be healthy and resilient? We researched a new attitude to bring the water system back into balance. A system in which we see water as something we can borrow. In order to give it back—clean.
At the Embassy of Water, we use creative power to solve today’s water problems. Curator Anouk van der Poll: ‘We inspire users and governments to deal with water differently. What if people become caretakers of water rather than users? Would you actually flush your toilet with drinking water? We took on this theme as part of various projects.’ The projects were displayed at the Embassy of Water’s online exhibit.
Deep designer Anne van Strien looked into how we can change our view of water. It begins with listening. Over several podcasts and inspirational droplets, she highlighted the voice of water. Curious about what water has to say? Listen to ‘Luisteren naar de stem van water’.
With the game ‘The Water Animals‘, designer Bernhard Lenger tries to understand how we can all take care of the water around us. ‘Really, we should see water as a companion,’ says Lenger about the idea behind the game. ‘Like your cat that you take good care of.’ To teach people to deal with water differently, he designed eight aquatic pets, each of which symbolises an important water issue.
As part of the Embassy of Water at Dutch Design Week (DDW) 2020, visitors were also introduced to four other projects this year. At Aqua Bridge in Eindhoven, a concept was presented to connect the Dommel river to the Eindhoven canal, allowing fish and other aquatic life to swim freely between them. In Droogteschap de Dommel, the topic was on future scenarios for Waterschap de Dommel in 2050. The Weather Makers showed their Eco Oasis, a design for a breeding ground for special micro-organisms that can improve water quality. At the end, visitors were introduced to POND. This is the first floating grid in the world to generate energy from microbes in water. This technology makes it possible to produce sustainable energy by cooperating with nature.
During DDW20, the Embassy of Water organised five online events. As a virtual ceremony, deep designer Anne van Strien presented nine drops of consciousness, which she distilled from the podcast ‘Luisteren naar de stem van water’. Anne van Strien also spoke with the five WaterWijzen from the podcast. What did they hear when they listened to the water?
From the Effenaar in Eindhoven, CLICKNL showed state-of-the-art projects in the field of creative industry, knowledge and innovation all week long. During these Drive sessions, the online audience could actively participate in the discussions. On 21 October, the theme was water and the question of how we can change how we perceive water.
The Embassy of Water’s online exhibition featured the POND project, which looked at how microbes in water can be used to generate energy. In the talk ‘Het verhaal achter POND‘, this new technology was discussed in more detail.
Afterwards, visitors could play the Water Animals Quiz by designer Bernhard Lenger all week long.
On 20 November the Embassy of Water was a guest at Pakhuis de Zwijger, with Anouk van der Poll (curator of the Embassy of Water), Cees Kamp (chemical technologist / voice of water), and Bernhard Lenger (designer of The Water Animals) at the table. They were digitally accompanied by two embassy partners: Joost van der Cruijsen (process manager at Waterschap de Dommel) and Karla Niggebrugge (policy officer for Water with the Province of Noord-Brabant). We talked about the Embassy’s projects, about new perspectives on water, and how designers can play a role in this.
In the first podcast, we talked to designers Bernhard Lenger and Anne van Strien about their two projects within the Embassy of Water. In a second podcast with Inge Kruit, we looked not only at water but also at healthcare. What can healthcare learn from water management, where the system is less bureaucratic and the region plays a more central role?