Water Installation

Testing of a “machine aided natural system” setup

Water distribution

One of the most fundamental parts of my Dropworks installation is the flowing, distribution and dripping of water. Below you can see research and development for my first plan on how to generate a continuous dripping. This idea is based on the natural systems in place that generate rain. It starts with water being heated up to the point of evaporating. It then rises upwards until it cools down, and as it gathers in larger formations, it gathers mass and finally drips down to earth again. 

As my installation is based on the relationship of nature and technology I figured this would conceptually be a very strong method of displaying this relationship in the piece. After working on several potential technical solutions, the one drawn below came to be the most clean looking while still being able to position the sensors required to read the dripping in the right places.

It consists of two circular glass containers. One is thinner and placed on a heating element with water in it. The second, wider in diameter, is turned upside down on top of it, and acts as a “cloud” where condensation is collected and distributed. In order to get even distribution, there will be a concave piece of metal at the top, making sure the condensation is spread out evenly to the 5 sensors detecting dripping. This artificial rain will then be dripping in the space between the two containers, onto some small plants in soil.

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Blueprint of system

After makning this plan, I went online and shopped for the necessary equipment and parts to test this idea out. I found some glass vases that seemed to fit the specifications required, as well as a single cooking plate with step free heat settings so that I could use as low heat as possible for the system to work.

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Fundamental items of the installation

After receiving the ordered items, I set them up in the way discussed above. I started out on the lowest possible heat, as I assumed a small amout of vaporised water would suffice to create the dripping. After waiting about 20 minutes, I realised that the process would require more heat than I had planned, and started to increase the settings slowly. 

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Items in place

After some time, and increased heat, enough water had collected for dripping to occur. However, the rate was still way lower than needed for the system to create any interesting rhythmical patterns. Thus, I increased the heat even more. At the end of the test the water was almost boiling, and a lot of vapor was being produced. This had in turn warmed up the top glass cylinder, which made condensation happen slower than if it was cold. All in all, this test proved that this system requires too many variable parts that need to be concidered and taken into account for, to be reliable for a long term (several days) installation. 

A new plan has to be made, using another way of dispensing water that does not include boiling water and several loose parts.

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Condensation on top of the installation