To be able to graduate from the University of Michigan Bachelor of Fine Arts program, I needed to take a year long class called "Integrative Project". The year consisted of lot of research, interviews, presentations, critiques, and rough drafts.
I chose to do my Integrative Project on the Water Crisis. While not well known, there will be a huge decline in clean fresh water within just the next 13 years. I created a 40 foot (13.3 yards) long scroll depicting the next 13 years of water consumption as well as using it as a chance to educate my viewers about how much water it really takes to make every day food/products/travel.
As a Romanian-born, I have experienced what it is to not have safe sink water or to only be allowed to take baths once a week and to travel far distances to get drinkable water. Not having that security made me live in hypervigilance . Understanding that within 13 years, half of the world may live with this kind of anxiety is unsettling. I hope to show people that water scarcity is not something they should take lightly so I am happy to show them all the ways they will suffer... but also show that there is always more economic water choices to make even if we rely on all of our infrastructures.
This project is important now because the time line is 13 years before half of the world will be in high water stressed conditions, yet the problem is not being addressed.
Considering this: companies have already polluted 40% of our available clean water source. The largest source of ground water in the USA, the Ogallala Aquifer, has depleted by 60% in the past 50 years. Also, consider the projected climate change because 68% of our fresh water resources are frozen in glaciers and ice caps, as well as, the population growth, which will require 40% more water in 13 years that we currently have available. How will we possibly be able to maintain our water needs within the next 13 years?
We need water to live, we need water to grow our crops and animal, we need water to produce our thermoelectric power as well as our fuels. Without electricity, we can’t produce products, we can’t heat our homes, and we can’t use our electronics. Without fuel we can't travel, vacation, ship, export or import. Without water, we can’t support our economy, we can’t support our military, we can’t maintain medicine and we certainly can’t keep the majority of our jobs. Worst of all, with half of the world in grave need for water, it will be hard to maintain peace.
As the audience walks along the scroll, they will notice 13 themes, one dedicated to each year. Time is split by a thin line, which reads the year vertically across the illustration.
Between each line, the themes are as follows: 2017 starts with products and material goods; 2018 is about the city, jobs, and homes; 2019 is about transportation; 2020 is about entertainment, theme parks, and concerts; 2021 is about agriculture and meat; 2022 is about education, businesses, and factories; 2023 is about home and comfort; 2024 is about the splitting of class; 2025 is about highways and construction; 2026 is about domestic security, military, and questioned power of the government; 2027 is about sanitation and mass death; 2028 and 2029 is about wildlife and various ecosystems; 2030 – finishes with the destruction of national security.
Across the 40-foot long scroll, there is a sudden shift from the first half of the scroll to the second half. Nothing seems strange at first, but then the color scheme drastically changes in the middle representing the effect that ignorance will play in our futures. Notice the river that flows through two thirds of the illustration isn't really noticed until it ends. Just as we won't notice our dependence on water until we no longer have it. Once the water stops, I want to show the struggle and the lengths people have to go to survive when water is no longer easily accessible.
I want my audience to notice the split of classes that happens in the middle of the scroll. I want them to contemplate what side of the wall they would stand on… would they be safe with the upper class or would they be with the less fortunate middle and lower class?
I want my audience to see the 3,000 little people on the scroll and to be able to step back and realize that it is not just their lives at stake but a whole population’s lives that can be majorly affected by the water crisis. By being a third party who knows how the story ends, I hope my viewer will experience dramatic irony as they go through the story line.
I also wanted to create discomfort by using isometric shapes to make the storyline look toy-like to seem like a fun game that is juxtaposed with the true dark reality of what is to come.
At the completion of my Integrative Project, the students that passed were given the opportunity to show their work in an art gallery. This is where I learned that I should always consider the size of the gallery space when making my work. Because I had about 25 feet to displays a 40 foot long scroll. But it allowed me to problem solve and so I made the scroll bump out every foot almost like a wave of water flowing through the entire scroll.