Our first exhibition of the Water year is Containment, exploring our increasingly troubled relationship with water. Containment suggests antithetical meanings: on the one hand, the act of holding and enclosing, as you might a rare treasure; on the other, a defensive act, as in restraining a hostile power. With respect to water, both meanings apply: we cannot live without it and yet we know it has the power to destroy us. Fear and desire circulate through our relationship with water. Bottles, cisterns, reservoirs and baths; sewers, levees, dikes and dams: all seek to contain and control water, the source of all that is liquid. And somehow the more we seek to control, the more out of control it all becomes…
In this exhibition, the containment of water is depicted in systems ranging from underground tunnels that contain once vibrant surface water bodies (Diaz) to bowls and buckets capturing furtively invasive water (Cogswell and Phunsombatlert). We see structures designed to hold floodwater back (Diaz) as well as the rivers that resist containment (Garnett). Goldfinch portrays the liquid exchange that keeps our brains alive. Saucedo portrays everyday containers as pure form while Tannen goes for functionality, containing a river in a simple jug. Damon portrays the biodynamic movement contained within a single drop of water – movement replicated throughout the living world. Gagic records the musical sound of the sea contained in organ pipes and Sturman simply sails away, happily contained. Containment also includes a special installation on our Proteus Shelves.