A TRIBUTE TO WHEN IT'S RAINING
Research about the human relation to rainwater.
Master thesis in design
Individual Study Plan at Konstfack 2020
Below is a introduction to the thesis:
In this thesis I will explore how design can act as a bridge between our current detachment from nature and the future forecast of intensified rainfall as the new status quo. I want to use design to awaken our senses to the natural world around us, design that inspires us to reimagine and rethink our relationship to rainwater. We need to bridge the gap between nature and the culture that forgot where it originated. We need to step back (or forward) to a place where both can thrive.
Modern architecture may have shielded us from the four elements (water, air, earth & fire), but as we shielded us from them something happened, something got lost. Today we press buttons on our air conditioner when we need the wind, we turn on the tap when we need water to cook our food. We have little sense of where water comes from or where it goes. The elements are present in our homes but often concealed and controlled as David Macauly writes in his book Elemental Philosophy. Though the elements are in many ways present outdoors, modern cities are built to shelter us from harsh weather, made to withstand nature's temper.
In the near future, cities around the world will suffer from heavy rainfall due to climate change. How will these rainfalls affect the everyday citizen? If adaptation to new environments is how we survive according to Darwin, how do we adapt to heavy rains? These questions have led me into thinking about how we value rain, when it's appreciated and not.
To better understand our relationship with rain we have to understand how we value water. We take clean water for granted in the western world, great design has created a network for the water infrastructure that is largely invisible. Water is flowing through pipes hidden in our walls and beneath our feet, from distant reservoirs and aquifers to waste processing plants. We have little sense of where water comes from or where it goes. Historically this was not always the case: aqueducts and fountains delivered water into cities through a synthesis of engineering and art that celebrated water and made it central to urban life. As Jane Withers writes in her book Hot Water, “It began to strike me that many of the ways we use water today aren’t nearly as imaginative as historic water cultures,” referring to Ivan Illich’s observation that industrialization had turned water from a spiritual power into an industrial cleaning liquid. The technology with the intention to enrich our lives makes us detached and ungrateful for its benefits according to the philosopher Albert Borgmann. By instead revealing how things work and making us involved in these processes, curiosity, knowledge and care might arise. My interest lies in finding ways where nature and technology can build on each other.
Rain is water falling back to earth.
Rain is a combination of sun, sea, wind and terrain.
As miserable as it sometimes can be,
humans have never been able to live without it.
Some places have it in abundance while others crave it.
Too much or not enough, rain evokes emotions among us.