THE LIBRARY OF WATERS
In the spring of 1988, Arizona artist Beth Ames Swartz brought a significant number of us together in the mountainous evergreen forests of Prescott. All women, all environmental activists, femininists, all visual artists from over the country and both coasts, we assembled to share our work, our myriad concerns and the issues arising from irrefutable evidence of future climate change.
I had created SEA OF CLOUDS WHAT CAN I DO: filled a Santa Barbara kunsthalle with plastic waste and non-biodegradable garbage, gathered from the local beach a year or two earlier. Most of us were involved in doing and making work on several issues simultaneously, often overwhelmed. We sat for days in discussion, meditation and celebration. Ultimately we decided that with so many environmental problems presenting, we would each choose ONE issue and dedicate our focused attention on spiritual and aesthetic solutions. My basic issue is WATER.
The idea for The Library of Waters came soon after returning to my studio. It may have come in a dream as did SEA of CLOUDS.
“I will ask artists from around the planet to assist building this collection. Send me small samples of water (around 6 ounces) gathered from creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, inland seas and oceans. Only from wild natural bodies of water, make note of the source, its geographical location and collection date. With at least 100 water samples from every continent, we will display this collection of global waters in the United Nations. It will be a living, powerful visual impact, a time capsule from mid 21st Century on how the people of Earth cared for this Sacred Compound, so absolutely essential and so taken for granted.”
According to scientific estimates, during the 20th century we have created and added to our environment over 84,000 chemical compounds which do NOT exist in NATURE. It all ends up in the oceans, the fundament of our food chain.
THE LIBRARY there will have no scientific data to read and nothing to comprehend cognitively. Simply the raw, straight visual evidence of the health and condition of our waters. I believe an immediate emotional, gut-felt poetic response will arise. Direct concern bringing more consciounness and change.