Hydraulic Despotism

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Steel, glass, wood, plexiglas, 16 mm film, film projection, photography, slide projection, fluorescent lighting, video.


  • A central structure devised of glass, cor-ten steel and wood that suggests a street kiosk. Exotic use of materials gives the structure an archetypical cast.
  • Two 16 mm projectors each fitted with a film loop.
  • A slide projector projecting a single sustained image.
  • A video monitor displaying scrolling text. (Please send an email if you would like to receive a video clip of the entire piece, including samples of the scrolling text.)


The Photography:

Contains images, respectively, of oceans, rivers, estuaries and the sun displayed both in the structure and on the floor.

The 16 mm tape loop:

Two repeating images of (1) a dripping faucet and (2) a filling bucket. These are projected through the structure itself onto the wall of the room.

The Slide Projection:

A very large image of the sun 8 feet wide projected over the structure.


The conception of the piece rests on the use of an archetypical structure recognized as a known conveyor of information using all modes of conveyance of communication images, words, metaphor and form to express an idea of control through the manipulation of resources. In this case, water is used as a theme but the principle is universal.

General Description

The central structure made of glass, steel and plexiglas is 14' long x 8' high x 6' wide. It sits in a room and interacts with its surrounding space by the use of the projected images which are focused through the structure itself. The two projectors are set so that the images, each approximately 6' square, appear one over the other, producing a 12' projected wall of black and white image. The slide projector is placed in such a way that the sun looms overhead almost as large as the structure itself.

The aura of the piece commands the full room. Needless to say, due to the use of projected imagery the piece is displayed in the dark and it lit solely by the projections and illumination built into the structure itself. This has the effect of isolating the piece in a very theatrical setting. A television monitor sits outside the structure and scrolls text on a loop that keys the metaphors inside the piece. One interacts with the piece by walking through and around it, intersecting light beams, etc., and viewing the piece from all angles as there are several stations where one receives information.

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