Mixed media installation
2.9 liters of purified wastewater, custom made weight of concrete, gold mirror stainless steel
Developed with the support of the AiR-program for the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Ural Branch and the City of Bergen. HD–video by Roman Vlasov.
The Russian Federation ranks second in the world for global water resources with the largest reservoir of fresh water. 80 million cubic meters of wastewater sludge is produced annually making the water utilities sector one of Russia’s largest industries. Of the amount of wastewater passing through the plants only 28 per cent is treated, while the rest is discharged, insufficiently treated, into rivers, lakes and the sea.
In the Urals region (the leading mining center of Russia) a lot of mines have recently been closed and flooded. In formulation of this exhibition, a case study of the abandoned copper and sulfur pyrite mines of Degtyarsk (67 km west of Yekaterinburg) has exposed wastewater pH levels measuring around 2.5 and in addition to copper, zinc, gold, silver, sulfur, iron, arsenic, selenium, cadmium and other elements as well as industrial and household waste.
Per Capital explores what is recognized as the technically possible, while economically unachievable task of cleaning polluted wastewater. Performing a process of limestone pH neutralisation, gravel and sand filtering, distillation and remineralisation, collected wastewater has been purified for human consumption. The filtered toxins along with lime and stone materials used in the process, have been bonded into a weight of concrete. The installation consists of 2.9 liters of purified water (the calculated mean of clean drinking water per capita, per day) sealed in a cylinder of average human height, positioned in juxtaposition to the weight of contaminants and materials needed for the purification. Accompanying is video documentation, five parallel HD-videos screened without sound.