In an early discussion with Malin, Mathieu, Signe and Erik, we talked about ‘failure’ in relation to leakage. That is leakage coming from a failure of containment or a system of vulnerabilities.
This interpretation of the water monument also started from a point of failure or non-function to develop a water structure specific to where I live.
The gutter on the back of the house is not connected to the down pipe, which meant all the water would run off the roof and flood the back entrance whenever there was a heavy rain. The gutter on the back shed is also not connected to anything. The landlord does not fix this, so other creative solutions arise.
The ‘monument’ here is a circulatory system which is fed by the two buildings, redirecting the rainwater from the roof over the garden instead. Water seeps out from the joints of the pipes, dripping over the soil. In the garden bed I am planning to grow plants for attracting pollinators, which will be watered by this leaky structure. Therefore these separate, originally disconnected elements of the two buildings can be reintegrated into a living system. A body of water.
This is also a system that requires ongoing attending-to, in the form of supports that bear the weight of water flowing through the pipes. Because the joints are loose, the structure warps at stress points where water gathers and the weight distorts it. It reveals the shape of a system under stress, slowly twisting into self-destruction – until it is pulled back once again into its original geometry, this constant maintenance to keep the water flowing.
Many of the leaks are being caught in vessels to produce various sounds. It is another way of understanding points of weakness in a system, which may not be visible otherwise. The overall sound changes depending on the volume and pressure of water within the pipes, and how much has already been collected.
I have been thinking about the bigger implications of failing systems, and things that shouldn’t leak but do. On the other hand, there are multiple possibilities that emerge from leakage. For example, how communities of insects spring up around a gently leaking pipe. Or the necessity of communities self-organising in the face of capitalism, governmental failure and vacuums in social support.
These are just pipes in a backyard. Leakage can be joyous as well. That’s also a possibility. Either way, leakage is revelatory.