The Nature of Water: Basia Irland Reveals The?Is? And The?Ought?

Ethics and the Environment 8 (1):37-50 (2003)
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Abstract

Basia Irland is an artist whose work revolves around water. Her vision is wide and she addresses ecological, social, and policy issues. Many of her works consist of portable sculptures which house maps, videos, natural objects, water samples, hydrologic reports, and research. In this paper I focus on two of her pieces, Desert Fountain and the Gathering of Waters project. I find these two pieces especially illuminating, because Irland reveals the nature of water, and also illustrates what our relationship to water should be. The ethical dimension of these pieces illustrates such values as harmony and reciprocity. Her work is a powerful statement about how we, individually and collectively, should interact with the natural world. I will explore each of these pieces in turn, allowing her work to make the connections between what is and what ought to be.

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