Framed Water 2009 -

Inverse started in December 2009 when visiting Gujarat (India) for the first time. In this partly (semi-)arid Indian state water has a different meaning, and by that a different tradition compared to Dutch culture. Water. In the Netherlands there is plenty of it, lots of rainy days, most of it will ‘find its way’ to the rivers of the delta we live in. If I write: find its way, I mean, it will be pumped into the rivers, since most of our land is below sea/river level. The Dutch are very good at pumping and dikes, but discovered that it is not always clever to bring water as fast as possible to the sea. The last couple of years research and tests are done finding new ways, partially to prevent periods of too much water at the same time in the lower part of our land (the pumps cannot keep up with it), and partially to replenish our groundwater table. It is exciting to live in these times of a cultural shift, almost a revolution: from pumping and dikes to retention and giving room to water, from fighting water to becoming friends with water; maybe we should say from functional to relational. Thoughts like these came up earlier while studying the acequia culture in New Mexico, in the project Desert Passage. Traveling in Gujarat brought a far more meta-physical experience of relations between man, water, earth, and life (heaven?). Read more about the experiences of the project and trips to India on the Framed Water Blog. Coming soon: INVERSE a travelogue Notes, photo’s, sketches, films: an artistbook in three parts based on the experiences of researching stepwells in Gujarat on and off over the last five years. “Water is never only functional in a desert, in a desert water is always revered”. Parth Shah, architect, Ourpeopletree, Rajkot, Gujarat India