[ISEA2020] Paper: Ana Rewakowicz — Art and Science Intra-action of Collecting Water from Fog. Ethical Response-ability in Karen Barad’s Mattering


Keywords: Environmental water crisis, fog water collection, art & science collaboration, Karen Barad’s agential realism, ethical response-ability

Water is the essence of life on our planet and yet, due to climate change and multinational politics of profit, water and access to clean drinkable water are diminishing on an unprecedented scale. The art&science Mist Collector project addresses water shortage by looking at a new paradigm of collecting water from fog. In my presentation I will use Karen Barad’s theory of ‘agential realism’ that inspired by quantum theory, considers ‘matter’ as an active agent that dissolves boundaries of dualistic thinking (matter/mind, animate/non-animate, human/non-human, sentient/non-sentient), to demonstrate how through art and science “intra-action” – which means onto-epistemological inseparability, we can bring forward imaginative solutions and produce poetic messages that are able to create a more acute awareness of the global water situation. I consider our research as a platform of “dynamic relationality”, in which the public is invited to enact an “ethical response-ability” by engaging with the artworks’ space, time and matter processes. Mist Collector, by bringing ‘humanity’ to the scale of a single drop of water and by embarking the visitor aboard an Earth sized vessel sailing in the fog, states the necessity for all sentience – human and “inhuman” (outside the binary of human/non-human) to start building a shared narrative, an uncertain shadow of an ever failing ecosophic Future/Present/Past that may still be shaped and imagined together.

  • Ana Rewakowicz (L’École Polytechnique, Paris, France) is an interdisciplinary Polish-born artist, living and working in Montreal and Paris. Known for her stimulating, interactive and inflatable works that question our relationship with the environment, she is concerned with issues of sustainability and the need for (intra)disciplinary collaborations to face growing environmental challenges. Currently, driven by a desire to contribute to imaginative solutions that can improve living conditions, as well as to create a more acute awareness of the global water situation, she is working on a project of collecting water from fog, together with scientists at École Polytechnique in Paris, as part of her PhD research. Rewakowicz has works in the permanent collections of MACRO (Rome, Italy), MAC (Montreal), MNBAQ (Quebec City), Musée de Joliette (Quebec), and has exhibited in Canada, Europe, South America and the USA. She is the recipient of many awards, prizes and grants, and her works have been featured in various journals, films and books, most recently in Bubbletecture published by Phaidon (2019). rewana.com