Monday, March 23, 2009

Street Fountain

clipped from
Helmut Smits

Here's a lovely piece of intervention by the Dutch artist Helmut Smits. A minor act but profoundly marvelous.

Smits briefly notes that his street fountain spurts via a small water pump. But how small is it, we wondered. How complex are its wirings and how great is its energy requirement? One certainly wishes that it could be mass produced, bought by the dozens, or at least hackable from easily procured cheap parts, a craft project whose step-by-step instructions can be downloaded from Instructables, like LED Throwies. When the rains do come and fill up pot holes or shallow pedestrian depressions, you can sow little fountains everywhere, adding a bit of playfulness to the concrete playgrounds of weary city-dwellers. It's Banksy meets Salomon de Caus hydro-graffiti.

Should you want to add a subversive underlayer, you could say that at the same time it highlights the deplorable condition of urban infrastructure, that pouring in billions of dollars into these pot holes isn't going to solve the problem. The collapse is perpetual. Best thing to do is to apply some imaginative urban tactics.

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