Steve Rowell


Hydromancy
2006


In collaboration with SIMPARCH

For Hydromancy, water from the Rio Grande flowed from a tank at the top of the rocky hillside outside of the gallery. Gravity moved the water through three passive solar distillation units arranged in a descending formation on the hill. The stills use the energy of the sun to heat the water to the point of vaporization, where it collects on the glass. This condensation flows down to a small channel, exits the still, then is conveyed down the hill into the building via an elevated pipeline. The now purified water was offered to visitors, but most of the day, depending on the sun, it streamed or dripped onto the gallery floor. With a directed spot light, this expanding pool was projected onto the gallery wall. The naturally cleansed water of Hydromancy is presented as essential substance rather than mistreated commodity.



2 minute sound sample.

In collaboration with SIMPARCH

“Collaborator Steve Rowell provides an audio overlay to the installation. Sounds of this engineered water process are mixed with field recordings of the border - dissolving the physical walls of the gallery, revealing an acoustic interpretation of the landscape beyond. The field recordings were made at various points along the river as well as along the invisible, land border and in many cases with one half of the microphone in the US and the other half in Mexico. The division between nations becomes reduced, distilled, by an objective experience - the listener’s ability (or inability) to perceive minute differences in stereo sound.”