May - June 2022 — Visual Arts
Greg Niemeyer is a Swiss born, US based data artist and Professor of Media Innovation in the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley. In his work, large datasets and data streams are raw materials for visual and sonic experiences that tell important stories about urbanization processes, drought and climate change. During his residency from 19 May to 28 June 2022 in Egypt and Kenya, Greg will develop his ongoing project, Water Archives, which connects hard data, photography and narratives around water resources in different parts of the world.
The main purpose of the Water Archive project is to support water security, to acknowledge the essential role of water, and to share the widely different experiences people have with water security in different locations. Greg explains, that “While many people contribute to this conversation already, I believe the best way to build water awareness is with an approach that connects emotional, technical, historical and narrative elements, and that care is taken that the people in the stories have access to the stories.”
In Kenya, Greg will spend time at the construction site of the megadam on the Thwake River. He intends to engage with local residents living near the dam to hear their stories about water issues, and to share similar stories with them from other parts of the world drawn from the project. In Egypt he will spend time at the Qasr El
Nil Bridge and Al-Roda Nilometer, a structure used for measuring the water level during the annual flood season.
The format of the project combines photographs of sites where relationships between water and humans are articulated structurally. Greg combines these images with data about water to show a dialogue between the present of the photograph, the history encoded in the data, the history of the site itself, and possible future relationships between water and humans. In context with each other, the images describe different water-human relationships around the world.