To dive deep into water, or to wander in the desert, is to leave the systems and space of our usual sensibilities behind and experience new connections that move our psyche. This experience of deep or immense space heightens our senses, activates our imagination, and turns emotion into memory. It allows us to bathe in the ‘elsewhere’ of another world.
Through climate change we find ourselves in a vast elsewhere – a place where winds are wilder, droughts are dryer, heat is hotter; where the flux of water levels, like a coming storm, wreaks havoc. And the immensity of this elsewhere can be intimately felt when, after days of relentless heat, a drop of rain falls on our skin and our imagination drifts into a rapture of clouds and deep pools of water.
Anthropocene Era, Sixth Extinction, Global Warming, Climate Change: what is the role of intimacy within the immensity of these shifts? What is felt individually and collectively when mortality is no longer ‘the drama’, but rather extinction? What might collective imagining bring to bear upon our relationship with water and our water future? What do we share in a time of diminishing resources? What might we discover together when we dive into cooling practices and bodies of water. What act of solace or recovery has meaning?
Punctum’s Public Cooling House is our response. These questions are at the source of this intimate space - a ‘house of cooling’ in which Cooling House Attendants draw from our relationship with the immensity of climate change and an imagined ‘water future’, to refresh our bodies and invigorate our sense memories.
The Cooling House installation and program of ‘water works’ stem from our involvement in the 2017 Asia TOPA/Arts House ‘Water Futures’ symposium, where artists and international scientists conceived of hypothetical collaborative and localised projects focusing on water issues.