Waters Run Deep

Kinetic Sound Sculpture

Medium: Transparent Polyethylene Bottle, Paint Tray & Brush,
    Parts of Two Electric Whisks, DC Motor, Water Level Switch,
    Relays, DIY Piezo Ceramic Hydrophone, DIN15 Cable, Computer
    Running Ableton Live, Paint Buckets, 2-way Auto Speakers, Amplifier

Waters Run Deep expands on the paradox of maintaining constant growth, all the while being faced with a univocal sign from nature that our consumption habits drastically need to change. In our efforts to acknowledge the possibility of an impending apocalypse, while not wanting to give up our hard earned mobility and lifestyles, we tend to end up treading water, acting half heartedly, too late, too little and then too desperate and overruled, while still fuelling the same vicious spiral.

Ehlin’s kinetic sound sculpture keeps itself running in a perpetuum mobile fashion, repeatedly reacting to its own whisking up of the water level inside a plastic bottle, only to turn itself off and go the other direction with the same result. A thin string of sugar trickles down from the ceiling and gets collected and distributed to the bottle via a rotating plastic straw through a static syringe. 

Due to them hardly ever lining up most of it ends up scattered across the paint tray and the floor. Given enough time, the sugar making it through the syringe will slowly change the viscosity of the water in the bottle and eventually turn it into syrup, thus bring the sculpture’s repeated bidirectional movement to a fail. The sound from within the bottle is amplified and played back by scavenged car speakers mounted inside two empty buckets for outdoor weather protection paint, giving a resonant quality not unlike that of holding a big seashell over one’s ear. The plastic bottle is of the Swedish brand T-Röd (”T Red”), an alcohol solution coloured unmistakingly red to avoid accidental misuse, and used as defroster, cleaner, degreaser and paint thinner. Its iconic design has remained unchanged over the last 50 years and can still be found in any gas station, super market, workshop or household.

Waters Run Deep shines a light on a hopeless binary scenario by playful use of symbolic values of the plain and the mundane. Traditionally opposing colours red and blue are used throughout to symbol hot and cold, plus and minus, left and right, before and after. In an increasingly partisan world, the political debate has gotten reduced to polarised jargon, when we more than ever need bipartisan solutions lasting longer than an election cycle.