a tale of a few cities

Claude Collins-Stracensky, The Solar Distiller / Fountains

Posted in Art, artists, environmental art, Sculpture by petercombe on September 28, 2011

Top: Claude CollinsStracensky, Energetic Return Part 1, 2010. Photo: Luigi Acerra
Bottom 2: Claude CollinsStracensky, Solar Distiller/ Fountain2011. Photos: CollectiveField


LA-based Claude Collins-Stracensky takes as his subject the fundamental aspects of the natural world—light, energy, and time—in a practice that embraces a range of mediums.

The Artist is raising funds to construct two public Solar Distiller/ Fountains for this years High Desert Test Sites event which opens October 15 &16 2011. The Solar Distiller / Fountains are a pair of identical glass obelisks that will be placed at different locations in Joshua Tree. The first will be placed in the town of Joshua Tree, and the other on a hiking path deep in the desert.

The ‘fountains’ rethink our understanding and relationship with public sculpture and monument while refining our awareness and relationship with water.  Installed as permanent structures, they will act as markers to the ingenuity and resilience we have for aesthetic adaptation to our environments and circumstances.

Resembling the historical form of an obelisk, the fountains function as public water distillers powered by the sun.  Using the method of vapor distillation, the ‘fountains’ purify liquids such as contaminated water from plastic bottles left in the sun, other “grey waters”, and even human urine are converted into potable H2O.

The top of the obelisk/fountain uses a reflective glass diamond constructed from a two layer food-safe and mirror-coated glass, which will encourage condensation by keeping the top cool, and also allow it to be seen for considerable distances in the desert landscape. The base of the fountains will be clear food-safe glass and will contain a steel “grey water” basin, a collection vessel and a shelf for the vessel to sit above the basin.  All parts will be removable for cleaning and maintenance.  The obelisk structure will stand 44” at its top and with the top removed will enable comfortable adult usage of the components inside.

The design of the ‘fountains’ allows grey water to evaporate from the basin and collect on the inner lid of the sculpture.  The condensed evaporation is collected through gravity and funneled into a cup by the ‘V’ shaped inner lid.  Within an hour or so in desert conditions, a full cup of distilled water can be safely poured into your personal water canteen and drunk.  Instruction glyphs etched on the sculptures side will instruct the user on how to interact and use the ‘fountains’.

YOUR CONTRIBUTION will enable the production and exhibition of two unique glass obelisks, which function as solar water distillers. With your contribution the obelisks will be donated to the Joshua Tree community by CC-S and YOU for permanent public use and display.

However ever big or small, your donation will make a significant difference in seeing this project through to completion, and will stand as a new method of producing public art.  Funds over the goal will go towards stipends for the artist and those assisting with the project, and will help fund ongoing projects by CC-S & CollectiveField.  All donations are tax deductable through USA Projects.

See Video here

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