Probing Archeology Through Water
Testing the Resilience of the River Irk. Imprisoned by embankments during the industrial revolution, the river remains one of the few forces that have survived the industrial age within Irk Valley. Irk once selflessly catalysed life around itself but now flows as one of the dirtiest rivers in Europe, growth came at a cost of abuse to the river. Today the River Irk becomes the mobilizing element to immerse people with the past and future of this part of Manchester.
Ambiguity & Enigma
The atmosphere of the Irk Valley radiates ambiguity, long-abandoned structures, and paths that have been reclaimed and buried by nature. The tree-covered hills of the valley generate multiple journeys across the site, much of Irk seems ill-disposed at first glance. However, the eeriness of the place sparks peoples’ curiosity to explore this mysterious site; The Irk Valley has grown to become a place to anticipate the Unknown.
Questioning The Unknown
Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) asks us to question what knowledge is. Was our society built on norms and routines which make us believe that there are absolute truths? Maybe, as simple as some things may seem, we do not know anything at all. To understand ourselves better we must break the routine and start experiencing the world through different methods. The WaterLab establishes a series of processes of discovering through direct experience.
WaterLab: Experimental Water Treatment Probes
WaterLab is a series of Public water treatment probes each coupled with a community space. Every probe undertakes a different water purification phase to treat the contaminated water of river Irk (Manchester, UK) over a 50-year time span. The prototype engages people to participate in the six sequential stages of water purification.
The probes are an engagement with and healing of Irk Valley to participate in both it's past and potential futures. Post industrialization has led to the Irk’s desertion, places that were built to prioritize wealth creation have turned into obsolete relics. WaterLab questions the impulsiveness of orthodox routines and points to the futures we might build. As the water is cleaned incrementally year on year, visitors experience directly the archaeology of Irk Valley in a state of flux.
Technology is only part of the answer to our challenges with water. What is essential is our human relationship with it. How can life change as our relationship to water transforms?
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