The Entanglement of Desert Water centres around the saline salars of the Atacama desert, Chile; the only natural form of (almost) free water in this exquisitely dry environment with its unique microbial ecosystem. These saline waters increasingly utilised by lithium mining, and are the site of a series of conflicts that are increasingly common globally- limited water resources, jobs and hard currency from mining, unique fragile ecologies, and a tension between humans, environment and economics. This Art-science research considers non-human storytelling from the perspective of water and soil bacteria, of justice for nature and tensions between Central sites of policy development and peripheries in the Global South, such as Atacama. Artist Penelope Cain will be working with Dr Alan Belward, the One Water Project, Dr Bernd Gawlik, Water Quality, Dr Graziano Ceddia, Sustainability Governance Impact Area. She will link forward to local knowledge sites such as the University in Antofagasta and the local environmental monitors of the Atacama region.
Meet the Team
Penelope Cain is an artist with a research science back-ground. Her art practice is located interstitially between scientiﬁc knowledge and unearthing connective untold narratives in the world. Alan Belward is head of the Food Security Unit in the Directorate for Sustainable Resources in the JRC. Graziano Ceddia is working at the interface between social and environmental sciences, with a strong focus on agricultural expansion and deforestation in the Global South. Bernd Manfred Gawlik is Scientific Project Manager, coordinating the JRC Task Force on Water Quality. First meetings took place at the Summer School on NaturArchy (June 2022 at the JRC), and a deeper research collaboration was established over the summer.