THE SPACE BETWEEN

2016

South African Jewish Museum, Cape Town

Curator

Mari MacDonald

In response to increasing water scarcity both globally and in South Africa, the Dew/Fog Catcher has been designed with the potential to be both a functioning system of atmospheric water harvesting and a conceptual investigation into human relationships with vital natural resources.

Drawing on existing dew/fog catcher designs, the Dew Catcher works by being placed as high as possible, above sea-level. Condensation collects on the fabric, which then drips into the collection tray or pot below. This water is then funnelled into and stored within a closed tank for future use.

An initial design of the Dew/Fog Catcher was created for the Design Indaba 2017. Thereafter, a second iteration of the piece was installed in the gardens at the Tokara Wine Estate. The shape of this Dew/Fog Catcher was designed specifically for this site and mimics the natural curves of the valley surrounding it. 

 

In this version of the Dew/Fog Catcher, the copper thread embroidery on the fabric is a visualisation of a sound wave produced by recording dripping water. Copper is a trace mineral found in all body tissue and, alchemically speaking, is associated with healing. The element has a rapid and broad-spectrum antimicrobial efficacy against some of the most toxic species of bacteria, fungi and viruses. The use of copper wire and guttering on the Dew Catcher gives the water some of these microbial properties. The water can then be used on the herbs and vegetables to this effect and minimises the need for the use of agrochemicals.

 

While the Dew/Fog Catcher has practical applications that are not insignificant,  it is also a conceptual attempt to capture that which is ephemeral and fleeting. The work is intended to encourage reflection on the human (ab)use of natural resources and calls for sustainable solutions to environmental disequilibrium.

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