However privileged we may acknowledge this position to be; access to clean, fresh water is rarely given second thought in the UK (minus during the odd hose pipe ban of a particularly arid summer). Yet its scarcity – brought about by pollution, climate change, over-population, intensive farming and so on – is a growing problem that affects every continent of this planet, and at least 2.8 billion people each year. In fact, it poses a very real existential threat to the future of life on Earth, already triggering palpable signs of geo-political strain.
In response, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is preparing to launch Aquatopia – a group exhibition featuring six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK, which explores contemporary art as a possible ‘alternative platform’ for addressing the pressing reality and potential future implications of this crisis from a global perspective. The work hovers in the intersection between fantasy and critical observation; perhaps a useful place from which to begin a wider discussion around the real-life implications behind the many worrying reports, facts and figures already in the public domain.
The focus of Aquatopia will also extend beyond current environmental concerns, however, to offer a broader meditation on water itself. A natural element that covers 70% of our planet, forms a major component of every living organism, and an age-old pan-cultural symbol of purity and life; how often do we actually stop to appreciate its significance?
Drawing together a diverse range of participatory, installation and new-media based works from leading younger generation artists through to internationally renowned, this exhibition promises a to provide a thought-provoking look at one of the biggest issues facing our current age.
Aquatopia forms the first chapter of ‘A Season for Change’ – CFCCA’s ambitious new six-month programme of exhibitions and debates designed to encourage discussion around environmental issues facing today’s world.