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Wastewater, photo by Charlotte Still

Wastewater Photo Charlotte Still

Waterweek returns to examine waste water

Waterweek is devised by artists Clare Whistler and Charlotte Still, who have been collaborating on a project about local water for five years. They follow “an organic process of where thinking about and being with water will take them. ‘A water wandering’; inquisitive, interactive, immersive, reflective, poetic, experiential, unexpected, spontaneous and flowing”. This year Waterweek is about waste water: sewage, polluted water and water we waste. Xaverine M A Bates found out more.

waste [weyst], wasted, wasting. 1. to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander: to waste money; to waste words. 2. to fail or neglect to use: to waste an opportunity. 3. to destroy or consume gradually; wear away: The waves waste the rock of the shore.

The Good Shopping Guide (source: Facebook)

The Good Shopping Guide (source: Facebook)

On turning on the tap every time we wash our hands, wash the dishes, wash our clothes, flush the loo: how often do we consider what we are doing? In the West, water is something we take for granted – we can drink straight from the tap, which has been treated to remove chemicals and pathogens to make it safe for drinking. Despite the fact that many of us prefer to filter out the added chemicals, these are becoming increasingly difficult to remove as more and more pollutants enter the water cycle. The middle classes may choose to use eco-friendly cleaning products to minimise household water pollution, but a recent survey in the Good Shopping Guide showed that Ecover has the same ethical rating as Fairy Liquid, so being truly ethical involves more research and thought than may be at first apparent.

It was recently announced in the media that in April, Cape Town, South Africa will be the first city worldwide to exhaust its water supply, due to unsustainable domestic use during droughts. Two years ago in Hailsham, a sudden burst water main caused an instant loss of water to large areas of the town, leaving no time to fill containers in preparation. The loss of supply lasted several days, local shops soon ran out of bottled water and people had to queue for emergency supplies from a lorry in a car park. Our dependence on water companies became apparent in this case, as we are not able to collect safe water from local streams or ponds.

Beach rubbish, photo by Charlotte Still

Beach rubbish Photo Charlotte Still

The consequences of global capitalism are now impossible to ignore. Blue Planet II beamed into our living rooms the dire situation of our oceans, polluted with our liquid wastes and plastic, thus making them more acidic and less hospitable to vital ecosystems such as our precious coral reefs. Many factories, which produce goods for the West, simply pump their waste water into local streams, leaving them toxic and undrinkable for local inhabitants. Other worldwide streams and rivers are polluted by human effluence, agriculture, road runoff and choked with rubbish, while underground sources are also threatened by industrial farming and fracking. Standing Rock in the US became a symbol of indigenous cultures (in this case the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) engaging in sacred protest at the violation of pure, clean water for the sake of the polluting Dakota Access Pipeline on indigenous land. Contemplating the implications of the state of our water supply can feel utterly overwhelming, which is why events like Waterweek are so vital, by creating a space in which to consider the issues and what we can do about them in our everyday lives.

Waterweek 2018

Waterweek 2018

Waterweek is a seven day free festival for everyone to learn more about water and the consequences of our actions on our enviroment. Many different people, who are both knowledgeable about and interested  in water, are invited to present and create walks, talks, performance, art, film and workshops.

Thur 22 March Waste Water Pilgrimage: In previous years, Clare and Charlotte have organised community clean ups of the neglected and polluted Butts Field Stream on the outskirts of Hailsham. Although most of the rubbish has now been removed from the stream, its bed remains polluted with dirty engine oil and the water flows grey with road run off in wet weather. The surrounding area is beautiful but used as a dumping ground for rubbish of all sorts which gradually finds its way into the stream. They will collect water from the stream in vessels and carry them on foot and by public transport to ‘The Heart of Reeds’ by Chris Drury in Lewes, a living work of art with the ability to slowly filter and clean water as it passes through its vegetation.

Fri 23 March Fatbergs and films: 10am – 1pm: Fatberg Coffee Morning at the Waste Water exhibition Gallery North, Hailsham. Featuring: ‘Sewerising London’s Rivers’ a talk by Jane Trowell of PLATFORM, which works across disciplines for social and ecological justice, combining the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures. There will also be lavatory performances, organic teas coffee and cakebergs.

Sat 24 March Building a Compost Loo: Building a Compost Loo at Powdermill Woods all day from 10am. A practical day, where you are invited to find out how to build a compost toilet and join in if you want to. Lavatory performances throughout the day. Please wear suitable clothing and bring food that you need; hot drinks will be provided.

Sun 25 March Beach Clean and Rainwater Collection: Beach Clean & Water Labyrinth, 10am – 12am. Water Labyrinth by Ali Campbell. Talk: ‘Surfers Against Sewage #PlasticFreeCoastlines campaign’ by Atlanta Cook. Hot drinks provided

Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Works

Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Works

Mon 26 March – Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Works Tour and Waste Water talk at ONCA Gallery: Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Works Tour, Farrington industrial estate, Peacehaven. Southern Water have kindly offered to give us a tour of their state-of-the-art Wastewater treatment works at Peacehaven, which has been up and running since 2012 and has one of the largest green roofs in Europe. Come and find out what happens after you flush the loo! Josie Cohen of Pesticide Action Group will also be giving a short talk.

Tues 27 March – Water Writing Workshop and Water Quality Forum: 2.30pm: Water Writing Workshop with Kay Syrad and Clare Whistler, responding to the Waterweek exhibition at Gallery North, Hailsham. No experience necessary. To book a place contact Clare on 7pm Forum: Water quality around Hailsham and the Pevensey Levels, Hailsham Methodist Church. The Pevensey Levels is a unique SSSI and RAMSAR wetland on the edge of Hailsham, under threat from expanding development in the area. A panel of experts will each give a short talk and then we will open the floor for Q&As. Panel to include: Henri Brocklebank (Sussex Wildlife Trust), Bill Gower (Pevensey Levels Internal Drainage Board), John Gallop (Environment Agency)

Wastewater, photo by Charlotte Still

Wastewater Photo Charlotte Still

Wed 28 March – Havens Drains and Sewers Walk and Nuclear Waste Water Talk: 10 am:  Havens, Drains and Sewers: a guided walk on the Pevensey Levels with Graham Kean of Wealden Walks including visit to Hankham Organics where Pete Dollimore will talk about their rainwater collection system. 3pm: Nuclear Waste Water and Storytelling: A talk by radioactivity expert Ian Fairlie and storytelling by Andreas Kornevall  at Leaf Hall, 51 Seaside, Eastbourne

Waste Water Art Exhibition 11 March – 28 April: Gallery North, 70 High Street, Hailsham. Artists include: Jane Trowell,  Julie Ford, Gina Glover, Eden Kotting, Cat Ingrams, Felicity Truscott, Xaverine M A Bates, Anna Winter, Hugh Ford, Una Curthoys, Clare Whistler. Gallery opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm

Water Week 2018

Water Week 2018


Posted 15:11 Friday, Mar 16, 2018 In: Arts News

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