A giant red faucet presents you with a choice about recycling and limited resources.
Turn the large red handle on the faucet in this artwork and it dispenses a single golden tile. What happens next is up you: Place the tile in one of the holes on the perforated metal wall behind the faucet (a magnet will hold it in place) or keep the tile as a souvenir.This work by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig contains exactly 150,000 tiles that will never be replenished. Over time, the 245-foot wall—which also has exactly 150,000 holes—will be covered in a mix of golden tiles and open spaces. When all of the tiles have been dispensed, those left on the wall will be recycled back into the faucet, and eventually there may be no tiles remaining. As a result, the piece has an unknown lifespan, like natural resources.
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Zweig was inspired by the art plan for Brightwater, which dubbed the treatment process area “The Street of Alchemy” for its transformation of human waste into clean water. “When I began reading psychoanalytic literature about human waste, I came across the metaphor of gold,” she says. “Freud connects excrement to gold or money, especially in dreams. This strange coincidence inspired me to use gold—our fascination with it, our greed for it—in this work about the value and the finite nature of our natural resources.”
About the Location
Brightwater Science, art, design, and ecology come together at Brightwater, one of the largest wastewater treatment facilities in the world. Located north of Woodinville, WA, Brightwater comprises a park, a community gathering space, an exhibition hall, and a scientific learning laboratory in addition to the structures that house technical operations. Throughout the site, integrated and portable…
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