/ Barcode Installation at the 'Drink Water' exhibit
Barcode Installation at the 'Drink Water' exhibit
Selwa Sweidan, Linus Nilsson, Marco Mucig
21 June, 2005

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Contributors: Sponsor: Checkpoint Meto

The barcode installation is a part of Lucy and Jorge Orta's "Drink Water" exhibit which opened June 8th, 2005 at the Fondazione Bevilacqua in Piazza San Marco, Venice.

The "Drink Water" exhibit focuses on the issues surrounding water accessibility. In the exhibit a water purification system cleans the Venice Canal water (infamous for being polluted) and transforms this water into drinking water.

After a three day workshop with Lucy Orta at Fabrica, we were invited to further develop our concept of using barcode scanners and barcode stickers to reveal the irony of distributing bottled water. The scanning station gives viewers something tactile to interact with and delivers information. This information puts the exhibit into context.

To execute the goal of using hand-held scanners to trigger
information, we created custom-made barcodes. We placed these barcodes on the water carrying objects within the installation and each barcode triggers a separate quote relating to water scarcity. These quotes appear on the monitor and then fade out until the next use. While the entire installation plays on fusions of iconography related to water's use in industrialized and in water-deprived areas, the barcode installation in particular delivers direct and factual information.

Barcodes are universally familiar as encoded information used for purchasing items. We decided to extend the ideas behind the installation and offer viewers hard facts to think about. Adding the barcode stickers visually exposes the irony of purifying the reclaimed water and packaging it in an industrialized object. Viewers are offered the chance to reflect on these facts and understand the context behind the "Drink Water" exhibit.


Files for Download:
Press from Ottagono, June 2005 (ottagon-orta.pdf - 3148.936 kb)