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"Words for Water" Waterwheel Symposium 2014

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Presentation from the Waterwheel 2014 Symposium.

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"Words for Water" Waterwheel Symposium 2014

  1. 1. Words for Water Tracey M Benson Waterwheel World Water Day Symposium 2014 http://geokult.com/projects/words-for-water/
  2. 2. Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the country on which I now stand. Also, I would also like to acknowledge all Indigenous peoples, whose wisdom and knowledge offer great opportunities for humanity to learn how to be more sustainable and respectful of the land we inhabit. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the support and encouragement of Te Urutahi Waikerepuru, Jo Tito, Sharon Atkinson, Lee Joachim, Aretha Briggs and many more who, by sharing their stories and passion, encouraged me to explore more deeply my own history and place in the world.
  3. 3. Background Words for Water has evolved from a number of events:  A residency in NZ – SCANZ2013  A Jawun secondment with the Yorta Yorta People of the Goulburn Murray Region  Conversations about water both online and offline
  4. 4. SCANZ2013
  5. 5. SCANZ2013  An artist residency linking art, science, Indigenous knowledge and the environment.  This event crystallized many links between my practice, my values and my need to make sense of my place in the world.  At SCANZ2013, I learnt to acknowledge my mountain and my river, by my Maori guides.
  6. 6. SCANZ2013 One of the conversations at SCANZ that really grabbed my interest was about Wai – Water. For Maori, Wai means many things, For example:  Water is classified into categories each based on spiritual and geographical features.  Wai has many meanings related to the idea of water as the essence of life.  Waiora, waimaori, waikino, waimate and waitai - are used to define concepts for maintaining balance and interconnections between all living things and processes. Also, Maori regard the river like a human body, if it becomes sick, it can die. I remembered the creek we played in as children. http://www.seakeepers-nz.com/RIVERS/rivermori.html
  7. 7. Remembering Scalpland While thinking about my mountain and my river, I was reminded of a performance piece from the mid 1990s – Scalpland. This performance explored a range of issues related to place, the body and identity. A key theme was the changes in the landscape, witnessed in my suburb Aspley, after living away for a decade.
  8. 8. Remembering Scalpland
  9. 9. Remembering Scalpland Maundrell Tce, 1870s
  10. 10. Remembering Scalpland – Ancient Paths
  11. 11. Yorta Yorta Country The Yorta Yorta people of southeast Australia are a river people. Dhungala is the life source and spirit of the Yorta Yorta. River basins around the world are critical for water resources, biodiversity and agriculture, but they are facing increasing stresses due to degradation, overuse and climate change. We must find new, more integrated solutions that deliver benefits for:  healthy river ecosystems  sustainable agriculture  empowered communities From (http://www.yynac.com.au/learning_from_indigenous_knowledge.php)
  12. 12. Yorta Yorta From (http://www.yynac.com.au/learning_from_indigenous_knowledge.php)
  13. 13. Yielima: On country
  14. 14. Echuca
  15. 15. Putting it out there... After spending the day on the paddleboat and seeing the damage caused by this tourist activity, plus seeing the river level so low I needed to find a way to bring together my disparate and desperate thoughts. Then I had an idea...
  16. 16. What were people's words? Gapu: Yolgnu, Kapi: Pitjanjatjara, Gugu: Wubuy, Air: Bahasa Indonesian, Wair: Bahasa Sikka, Wada: Myla, Voda: Russian, Sui: Cantonese, Pani: Hindu, Water: English, Aqua: Latin, Eau: French, Ma: Arabic, Agua: Spanish/Portuguese, Nepo: Greek, Wasser: German, Wai: Maori, Galin: Wiradjuri, Wala: Yorta Yorta, Su: Turkish, Tubig: Filipino, Vann: Norwegian, Uisce: Irish Gaelic, Dwr: Welsh, Ilma: Maltese, Vand: Danish, Vatten: Swedish, Banyu: Javanese, Vesi: Estonian, Auga: Galician, Ouse: Old English, Av: Kurdish
  17. 17. Facebook responses
  18. 18. Project description (excerpt)  Words for water is an exploration into the many aspects of the chemical of H2O.  Water makes up over 70 per cent of the human body, it is essential for sustaining life and has massive social and cultural significance.  This project seeks to raise awareness of the significance of water to humanity – its critical importance to our existence: spirituality, culture, health and ecological sustainability.
  19. 19. Tracing the Murray To create the video over 70 images were collected of the Murray River, following the river from its source in the mountains, not far from where I live, to the sea - the Coorong in South Australia.
  20. 20. The Chakra of the Murray - Crown
  21. 21. The Chakra of the Murray - Heart
  22. 22. The Chakra of the Murray - Base
  23. 23. Making Maps for ISMAR
  24. 24. Critical issues If we do not respect and manage water, then our future sustainability is radically diminished. Some key issues include:  Fracking – e.g. Santos in NW NSW  Changing hydrology – water has lost its way  Irrigation – impacts downstream  Runoff of agricultural and manufacturing chemicals into rivers and oceans
  25. 25. Next steps: Wellness  In many languages the words for water have multiple meanings – as in the example of Wai.  In my mother tongue, English, there are also many words that have a connection to water, which have disparate meanings – e.g Wellness.  What are other examples?  What are the connections to water?
  26. 26. Sharing personal stories As part of the expanding collaborative aspect of Words for Water, I will be collecting audio and video about water. The focus is on personal stories and histories of place You can contribute! Email me: bytetime@gmail.com
  27. 27. Sharing personal stories As part of the expanding collaborative aspect of Words for Water, I will be collecting audio and video about water. The focus is on personal stories and histories of place You can contribute! Email me: bytetime@gmail.com
  28. 28. Sharing personal stories As part of the expanding collaborative aspect of Words for Water, I will be collecting audio and video about water. The focus is on personal stories and histories of place You can contribute! Email me: bytetime@gmail.com
  29. 29. Where the river meets the sea Next stage of Words for Water:  Returning to Taranaki  Adding more stories  Adding your stories :-)
  30. 30. Thank you! Find me online:  Words for Water project http://geokult.com/projects/words-for-water/  www.traceybenson.com  www.geokult.com  bytetime@gmail.com  www.facebook.com/mediakult  @bytetime on twitter

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