reenactment of CAVS River Project archive on the mist

In an essay entitled “Art and Ecological Consciousness,” which was published as the introduction to Arts of the Environment, Georgy Kepes writes: “The human body has an inbuilt self-defense, a physiological mechanism that protects it from extreme imbalance. We have begun to see that our extended body, our social and man-transformed environment, must develop its own self-regulating mechanisms to eliminate the poisons injected into it and recycle useful matter. Environmental homeostasis on a global scale is now necessary for survival. Creative imagination, artistic sensibility, can be seen as one of our basic, collective, self-regulating devices.”

He thought that one such device would be a water purification system that could replace public art at the river, at the same time exposing the relentless process of labor to visualize the ecological condition of enslaved and contaminated nature. Thus the large-scale environmental form could become an educator of sensibilities where the layers of human intervention recorded in the sediment and other toxic forms would provide material for the archive. Thus the public could be engaged as an “active participant in the educational setting thus help to develop a long overdue ecological consciousness.”

Liquid Archive. Mist Machine, selection of slides from CAVS River project 1971, screened on the mist produced by the Mist Machine prototype. Presented at The Future Archive, curated by Ute Meta Bauer, NBK – Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany, and at On Dilettantism, curated by Frank Motz, HALLE 14 Kunstverein, Leipzig, Germany, both in 2012