Water Printer, description


The history of mankind through the centuries has seen a succession of many eras, discoveries, successes and failures. The growth of the human race has always gone hand in hand with the growth of consumption, profits, communications, technology and science, without any special exceptions. But the absolute star of recent centuries is undoubtedly the machine. Enhanced by futurism and transformed by electronics and electro-techniques, it has permeated all areas from industry to ordinary routines, renewing and changing shape, through to its maturation in forms of computing. In the collective imagination, the machine, more than anything else, is a synonym for utility and efficiency. The Californian artist Daniel Watkins has built a machine in order to overturn these convictions, leaving space for reflection: a challenge to the concept of the future based on the validity of these processes. Water Printer is a machine that has deliberately been given an impossible task: to print on water. An industrious printhead travels on its track, touching the surface of a small stretch of water with the intent to fail to print words and phrases and perhaps even concepts. None of this takes the form of a real reproduction and what remains of the texts – universal witnesses of knowledge – is ripples of water illuminated by an old cathode tube screen, the only witness to some form of communication. In this installation the machine is relieved of its duties. All cables are clearly exposed, so as not to hide the nature of the machine. There is no design research, no landscaping, only the destruction of our expectations of the technology.


Daniel Watkins – Water Printer