Hydromedia: Seeing With Water
Sidestepping the purely documentary approach that prevails today in the photographic imagination of climate emergencies, Hydromedia: Seeing with Water would like to develop and promote new, experimental and easy-to-use artistic protocols to visualise and narrate the ecological breakdown. They invite artists to develop innovative tools based on the alternative photographic model of direct tracing through physical contact. By sharing these newly developed visual and/or narrative protocols with the general public, Hydromedia will give them the artistic means to reimagine their relationship with nature. Stressing a multidisciplinary approach, artists will work together with scientists and environmentalists. To develop these novel methods and tools, Hydromedia will organise three residencies. Each residency is dealing with a local topic concerning ecological water management during a one month stay at one of the participating institutes in Antwerp, Utrecht, or Karlsruhe.
After the residency period, the selected artists will have time to further develop their work which will be shown in a local exhibition starting September 2023.
The first residency is located at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and will take place in the month of April 2023. The second residency at the HKU in Utrecht will take place in Autumn 2023 and the third one at the HFG Karlsruhe will take place in Spring 2024.
The four selected residents will work in the Scheldt Estuary, the ecological zone alongside the Scheldt, a living climate laboratory, and a rare phenomenon worldwide. This area, determined by the ebb and flow of the river, contains brackish to saline to freshwater habitats and forms a unique ecosystem of mudflats and salt marshes. The wetlands and polders have great value as purification and flooding areas, important in the face of rising sea levels, and if managed ecologically these marshes can also store huge amounts of CO2, thus providing important services in the fight against global warming.
These aquatic nature reserves along the banks of the Scheldt are home to endangered species ranging from waterbirds and eels to otters, and are home to saltwater plants such as algae and seaweed that are seen as products of the ecological transition and a carbon-neutral future because they can store carbon from the atmosphere faster than trees. Specifically, we want to explore three sites: Kruibeke Polder - the largest flood area in Flanders; the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe - the largest brackish water salt marsh in Europe; and Droogdokken - a zone from Noordkasteel to Sasdok along the Scheldt where a new mudflat and salt marsh area is being developed.