(2) As living creatures, we react and interact with climatic conditions and topography. We understand and align ourselves with our surroundings when we are much more aware of them. In the desert environment - the space of absence - we are much more aware of climate and its subtle relationship with temporal change. The forms carved by deep time and moving water are all around us and there is nothing in the field of vision to distract us.

In this world, time is like the flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze. Now and then, some cosmic disturbance will cause a rivulet of time to turn away from the mainstream. When this happens, birds, soil, people caught in the branching tributary find themselves suddenly carried to the past.
---Alan Lightman

On a past visit to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, I experienced the ZERO TO INFINITY: ARTE POVERA 1962-1972 exhibition and was drawn to the work of two artists. I observed Pier Paolo Calzolari's moisture manipulation pieces utilizing a series of electrical refrigeration devices to frost the surfaces of a mattress and one extended ladder. Considering the 30 years since their conceptualization, the works still function as prime examples of continued investigation into the human relationship with natural phenomena. In another gallery, Gilberto Zorio’s experiments with the metaphoric power of materials revealed chemicals transformed with moisture extracted from the air. Real liquids, modified and corroded over time, placed in a space, allowing the museum-goer to participate in the process.

(3) The MOISTURE collective approach their program in much the same way Calzolari and Zorio have approached the creation of their works, as visualizations of phenomena. And then there is the notion of functionality.

The Moisture program includes works not intended to reference, but to perform under extreme conditions. The question now must be how to understand this program within a larger scope. Is it important that Moisture provoke a dialogue regarding the shrinking water supply in the American Southwest or should Moisture spark long-term thinking about the elusiveness of water? How will Moisture be evaluated and in what context?

[ continued on Moisture 1 > ]

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(1) Ideas concerning speed and time are constantly evolving. As we think back to the early water clocks, an age when we first developed an understanding of time flowing outside of our own bodies, our perceptions of time advanced beyond our connections with the seasons and the tides. With the evidence of geologic time around us, most of us have moved from a culture of patience to one of rapid movement and continuous information exchange. Those who choose to pay attention to their own internal clocks soon identify other overlapping perceptions of time.

The underlying focus of the MOISTURE project is time, and the sequence of perceptions associated with it. From one hundred years of siphoning water to Los Angeles from outside sources to the millions of years it has taken for rainwater to seep down into hidden sandstone aquifers, time is relative to the movement of this most curious liquid. From the driest regions of the Atacama desert to the tropical rainforests of the world, receiving five meters of rain per year, the hydrological cycle is one of the most visible and yet invisible realizations of time’s complex relationship with the physical environment.