The heart of the waste water treatment process occurs in the aeration tanks at the plant. Engineers, scientists and operators have duplicated the process nature uses to clean fresh water streams, lakes and rivers. What takes days in nature is condensed into mere hours. In the aeration tanks, a Shakespearean drama unfolds as armies of microbes live, die and vie for dominance in the activated sludge process. As the waste water flows through the treatment plant, microbes are concentrated in the aeration tanks. There they can clean billions of gallons of our waste water every day.
Plant Infrastructure Statement
In these pieces, Poseidon’s Siblings I and II, I am evoking waves of water using the language of high fashion. The shape of the whole piece is meant to mirror the shape of the aeration tank where billions of gallons of waste water are cleaned by an army of microbes. Through the use of extravagant ruffles and a sturdy industrial textile, I’m building a contrast between the heavy duty treatment process and Poseidon’s power. You can see his trident spearing the waves in a powerful gesture. In linking the myth of Poseidon… protector of water… with the people whose job it is to clean our waste water, I am disrupting a cultural perception that waste water is something to flush and forget.
Soil Sentinels- Bio Solids Statement
The Soil Sentinels evoke both the primal forces involved in soil formation and the simple industrial processes used in manufacturing Biosolids. Biosolids are a beneficial byproduct of waste water treatment created through a highly technical process. They are a remarkable material we can use to enrich the soil with nutrients removed through agricultural production. The organic material in biosolids also improve soil tilth and provides structure to soil. The Soil Sentinels are a primitive, earthy expression of the life cycle of soil and manufactured biosolids. We use the soil to grow the food we eat. We digest our food and if we are smart, we return our waste and nutrients back to the soil to enrich the soil for future generations.