Words are Water

Collaborative Installation


Jörmungandr [we devour we], HD Video, Single Channel Projection, 8:00 min, drinking water imported from a glacier, water cooler, cube seats, shag white carpet

Audiovisuals and Installation: Justin Watson

Audio engineering: Tim Grant

Plasticized History Water Cooler: David Sadler & Kayla Sudweeks

WORDS ARE WATER infers the mutability of language and how it shifts according to time, context and memory. WORDS ARE WATER is the title of the overarching installation created by Computer Engineer Tim Grant & Artist Justin Watson, with two key components that reinterpret this title. Jörmungandr [we devour we], is a multimedia installation using drinking water and audio sourced from arctic glaciers. Jörmungandr is a mythological Nordic ouroborous, or world devourer, and by inviting the viewer to partake in drinking this water, they, too, are confronted with a choice to drink this exotic water at the cost of engaging in a mutually destructive act. This dynamic between the viewer and what we consume directs us to the complexities of existing within a system where the limits of our engagement with the world around us is much more vast and geopolitically oriented than we may realize. The viewer is reminded of this dynamic with a lengthy circuit of words lining the top of the water bottle: “water is life is water is life is water is…”

The audiovisuals are an interaction between Tim Grant’s audio and Justin Watson’s visuals that fluidly shift from existential meditations and political subtexts. The video, outside of the title, lacks any specific voice over or text and relies on purely sonic and visual experiences connected to water to form a narrative. After the finalization of the audiovisual components, Justin and Tim to challenged their notions of interpretation and conceptualization of the topic by inviting two painters to translate their work onto the surface of the water cooler housing the arctic glacier drinking water. The painters, David Sadler and Kayla Sudweeks, worked collaboratively to interpret and reconsider Justin and Tim’s original idea through their water cooler painting, Plasticized History, reinforcing the shifting nature of ideas, words and perception.

Jörmungandr [we devour we]

HD Video
single channel loop
8:00 min