Water exhibition makes a splash at opening reception


Rob Engle

Mike Beck and Cindy Dearborn demonstrate how a stream of water can be bent using static electricity.

The traveling video installation Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a Vanishing Resource began its 9 month stay at the Huntington Museum of Art on Sept. 22 with an opening reception sponsored by the Marshall University College of Science.

The traveling exhibit curated by award-winning cultural journalist, Jennifer Heath, examines the world’s most crucial resource from ethical, political and personal angles. The exhibit is comprised of films from 41 artists worldwide that range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.

John Farley, preparator at the museum, said these videos explore the concept of water from all angles.

“Some of these videos deal with the topic of water in an overtly political way, while others in a humorous way,” Farley said. “Some do in a personal way and others in a big-picture, societal way. The common denominator is water as a resources and these artists are grappling with that one way or another.”

Farley also noted that the message of the exhibit is particularly timely considering how water conservation has become a recognized public issue.

“We’re hearing more and more in recent years about the importance surrounding the water supply,” Farley said. “These videos drive home the fact that this is a conversation we need to be having. It’s a conversation that should have already taken place.”

In addition to the premiere of the exhibit, scientific demonstrations were held for the public by the HMA Conservatory Director, Mike Beck and Museum and Schools Coordinator, Cindy Dearborn as part of the 4th Tuesday Series at HMA.

“Some of these videos deal with the topic of water in an overtly political way, while others in a humorous way.””

— John Farley

In their participatory demonstration, Beck and Dearborn talked about the different qualities of water, such as its chemical makeup, water’s polar nature, the density of seawater versus freshwater, surface tension and pH levels.

“Since it’s covering water from an artistic point of view, I thought I’d cover it from a scientific point of view,” Beck said.

Dearborn added that the demonstration was a way to get the public involved and interested in the global water crisis.

“The exhibition has a lot of different components to it, from drought to fracking to general use of water,” Dearborn said. “I think this is a great supplement to that. It’s brings some fun into it and gets the public involved.”

Water, Water Everywhere will remain at the Huntington Museum of Art until June 2016.


Rob Engle can be contacted at [email protected].