...work in progress
Ground Water Mirror is about a relationship with land and particularly water that has changed since industrialisation. Reflecting on the western notion of human domination over water and the alienation from it that followed a dependance on its subjugation, I explore our reasons for romanticising this concept we call Nature.
The title is a potential (mis)translation of the german word Grundwasserspiegel – the upper "surface" of groundwater, beneath which soil or rock is saturated with water. Aside from water's obvious mirror-like qualities, there is an expectation that follows contemplation of water – for it to provide a solution to the questions or anxieties we project onto it.
However we choose to describe water, we inevitably return to ourselves and our own experiences with water, using descriptions for which water itself has no name. It's cold, it runs, it flows, it seeps, rises and falls.
Berlin's ground water mirror is never far beneath our feet, one can hear it flow through those pink or blue overhead pipes as it is pumped across the city from construction sites to waterways. They remind us why we long for water, for Nature. Why we rely on it, fetishise it, and – if we are privileged enough – travel to find it.
As we gaze into the mirror it holds up for us, we too easily imagine that what we behold is Nature when in fact we see the reflection of our own unexamined longings and desires – William Cronon, The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature, 1995