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WATER CATCHERS

KAY WESTHUES

Water Catchers portrays people gathering water from various artesian wells in the Midwest United States. Artesian wells are fed from a confined aquifer containing groundwater that is pressurized and flows upwards, without need for a pump. These wells are filtered naturally and in some cases have been flowing for thousands of years. They are a surviving remnant of the public commons and often mark very early human settlements. Some visitors to the wells make the trip simply because they like the taste of well water; for others it is a family tradition. Some gather water because they do not have access to good water in their homes. This video emphasises the repetitiveness of this task – the viewer observes many people performing the same activity in different locations and in different weather conditions. It also alludes to the ritual nature of this ancient practice of gathering water. The act of retrieving water from a well connects us with the past and with an elemental human need. In the industrialised world, we are so accustomed to using water that is separated from its local ecosystem that we often forget about its intrinsic value to life.

WATER CATCHERS KAY WESTHUES