statement on "Aquaplaning"

it was 20 years ago last year. the Austrian government had decided to build the last major hydro-electric power-plant along the Danube east of Vienna. a large group of people – ecologists, students, artists & intellectuals, young generation & opposition politicians & many more – decided not to let this happen. we did not want the last major valuable ecological river resort to be destroyed by stubborn short sighted obsolete energy politics going in the wrong direction: continuing & supporting large scale waste of energy instead of saving it or developing new & more intelligent alternatives & ways of producing it. the movement was finally successful and gave birth to a new ecological & political consciousness in our country.
during that time I studied ecology (amongst other things). in our lab there were some large jars filled with water, plants & animals from that river region. the jars were sealed and life inside survived over/for a long period of time. a perfectly closed ecological/eco-system cycle.
deeply impressed by this I decided to try the same and set up my own first jar in an exhibition in 1988 and kept it alive for many years. in another attempt for the first "Aquaplaning" show in Vienna in Spring 2002 I installed 7 jars, including a revitalisation of the one from 1988. all of them happily alive ever since.
their contents are water-plants, microorganisms, and tiny animals & insects, taken from swamps and the muddy banks of rivers & ponds. unbeliveable how much life there is in more or less clear water - as long as the water is reasonably clean and unpolluted by heavy industry & other forms of human impact.

they need nothing but to be left alone. these eco-systems don't need any support from outside. they only need to be left untouched, undisturbed to survive & regenerate themselves over & over again. a constant, consistent cycle of self perpetuating life, growth & decay in a tiny space. all they need is light, the energy that lets the green grow.

you have to look very closely to discover living things sometimes as small as a pice of dust. you need to focus at the appropriate distance to find things where you did not expect to see anything.

aquaplaning (definition): it depends on the speed and the angle in which you touch the surface of water whether you dive into it or glide off (fatally)

wasser water
vodka vodka
trinken drinking
schwimmen swimming
(am wasser) treiben floating (on the water)
ertrinken drowning
ertränken drown (someone)
surfen surfen
nebel fog
wolke cloud
eis ice
eislaufen ice skating
gehen auf eis walking on ice
laufen am eis running on ice
schmelzen melting
verdunsten evaporation

it depends on the condition of the water, whether it is solid, liquid or gas. ice is hard as rock or glass, inpenetratable (remember Titanic!). in water you can swim or drown. steam may be breathed in but remains untouchable. a water skier glides of the surface at high speed, but sinks when the boat stops. a stone skips off when thrown properly.

Aqua I exhibitions