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Drawing Water [Cinder]


Drawing Water by David Wicks is a constructed landscape created by the relationship between rainfall and water consumption in the United States. The application, made in Cinder uses water consumption data and builds images to expose the reality that water is channeled, pumped, and siphoned to locations far from where it falls. Although the paths are imagined, the project is based on real data and it attempts to reveal truth about water resources and use.

Drawing Water plays a bit upon the 19th-century theory that “rain follows the plow.” At the time of its inception, that theory promoted Westward expansion, under the belief that plowing fields encouraged cloud formation and rainfall. As long as people plowed fields, they believed, water would come to them. Although we recognize climatological reality isn’t influenced by our farming (in the manner hoped), Americans still live with an illusion of resource availability following need.

David will be showing the prints and interactive version of the application at UCLA as part of the D|MA thesis show May 12.

Drawing Water uses water consumption data provided by the USGS and rainfall data provided by NOAA/NWS. The data is downloaded and parsed with a series of python scripts. For the interactive application, he wrote both a PC and an iPad application. The iPad has an overall map and timeline used to control where and when you are looking. They talk to each other using OSC, aided by oscpack and Hector’s OSC Cinderblock.

Project Page

Work in progress video below looking at Los Angeles and the Desert Southwest.