Sprouting Water

Sprouting Water is a gravity water system designed to collect and purify rain water. It was exhibited as a fully functioning, interactive installation in 2008 at the Nurture Art Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Gallery visitors could view the entire process as well as drink the water and eat the bean sprouts and wheat grass that grew from the drips of clean water.
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Patricia Tinajero | Sprouting Water 2008 | 72hX68wX45d View Larger >
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The water system is made out of recycled water bottles, plastic tubing, found plastic pails, sand, and activated carbon and steel. Many of the materials are clear so that the entire process is visible to the viewer. View Larger >
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Visitors were eager to drink the water they had seen traveling through it. In fact, I received unexpected cooperation during one particularly hot summer day in New York City as the water was stored in a cooler inside the gallery and people thought it was really refreshing and good tasting. View Larger >
The process begins on the gallery's roof where rain water is collected in a five-gallon bucket. The bucket is placed on an elevated metal structure that has been located close to the edge of the roof in order to maximize the amount of water collected.

This first water collector has two layers to catch debris: a metal mesh and a polyester filter. Here the debris such as leaves and sticks are trapped and then removed.

The collected water then runs down the plastic hoses to water bottles that have been transformed into organic filters made of gravel, sand, activated carbon and nitrates.

After the water has completed running through the filters, it travels by gravity through the hoses into sealed five-gallon buckets placed at the bottom of the metal structure.

At this point the water can be consumed, for example, in the gallery to drink, make coffee, or to water the bean sprouts and wheat grass included in the installation.

Sprouting Water questions the contradictions of consuming bottled water in the U.S. -- a nation that has appropriate infrastructure and ample resources to provide potable water to all its citizens.

When I fist came to the U.S. in 1979, we drank water from water fountains located in every public space. As the years have gone by, I have noticed that red coin machines selling bottled drinks have replaced these public water fountains. It is a dangerous trend that has only augmented a generation of trash and increased the consumption of unhealthy drinks.

The piece invites us to reflect on this historic and current wasteful use of resources. It proposes an alternative that is simple and effective: the collection and purification of rainwater using gravity as the source of energy.


Catalogue: Demo Eco M.O. Demonstration of Ecological Methods of Operation curated by Linda Wientraub.

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water , art and community




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