Things people have written about Water Bar & Public Studio. Things we've written about water.

Things People Have Written

Place-based art project Water Bar addresses disparities in drinking water access

Camille Erickson
Twin Cities Daily Planet
October 27, 2016

Listening – a core component of Water Bar’s mission – moves the bar beyond functioning as an art project and connects the scientists and advocates working in environmental sectors to the public. The “water-tenders” who staff the bar are often environmental researchers, public policy makers and community advocates. While willing to share their knowledge about water issues, their primary role involves listening to visitor’s stories. Matteson and Kloecker cited the common detachment of scientific research from the actual experiences and histories of the communities impacted and strive to lessen the disconnect. Matteson says they aim “to amplify stories that we hear, and especially stories that we feel are marginalized by mainstream media or public planning processes.”

In Minneapolis, bellying up for ... tap water

Steve Karnowski
Associated Press
March 18, 2016

"What Water Bar does is let communities and experts come together and talk to each other about, 'What are the issues here? Have you thought about where your water comes from? What are you concerned about when it comes to water?'" said Kate Brauman, lead scientist for the Global Water Initiative at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment. Brauman worked the bar at a sustainability event on campus last year. It was so popular they ran out of cups.

And now, kind of like a food truck that finds a permanent home, the Water Bar project is moving into a shop on Central Avenue just off Lowry. Having a permanent home will allow the project to expand its reach.

“The most important thing is that we’re actually combining the Water Bar with a public studio, which we’re thinking of as an art sustainability studio and incubator, intended to build local projects with other artists and designers, all about water and environmental sustainability at the local level,” Matteson told me.

The first step though, is to recruit some bartenders. [They plan] to wrangle experts on the water system from various capacities — engineers, city employees, environmental experts, students — who will be trained in some of the basics of the Twin Cities’ water system. Their job will be to pour the drinks, and start the watery conversations.

Things We've Written

The issue is not who needs water (we all do) or for what purpose (nearly every purpose), the issue is that even in the land of 10,000 lakes there is only so much water, and it’s preferable for life and living if we keep it clean. The real questions, if we’re being honest, seemed to be: How much pollution and overconsumption will we tolerate? How will we meet these goals? Who decides and who pays for it?
We’re all probably familiar with the Hydrologic cycle? To us, the idea of a “Hydrosocial Cycle” became a touchstone. Water, like oil or energy, doesn’t exist separate from our social and political systems, but rather, these systems make and remake one another — and us — over time. Can we change the ways that this happens, and maybe also change the impact we have on our environment, and vice versa?
One thing our indigenous Healing Place collaborators continue to point out, which distinguishes indigenous understandings of place from Eurocentric approaches: Place is relative, it is relation. Which is another way of saying that relationships matter. We are in relationship — to each other, to place, to power — whether we recognize it or not. Proceeding with that in mind, how can we live and work — as artists and designers, as organizers, as relatives and neighbors — in ways that embody the ideals and values of healthy and equitable relationships?