This project is being built to explore the way Chicagoans get access to their drinking water and what networks are in place in order to bring that water to them. My hope is that by photographing the physical aspects of what gets water from its source to the drinker, viewers will think critically about how water is made accessible to them. A large part of this project is also meant to display what part of this integral system is visibly accessible to the public.
Post-9/11 America has kept potentially vulnerable systems hidden to the public, but post-Flint water crisis America has been demanding that vital systems be made publically accessible. Drinking water systems are at the center of this push and pull- government protection vs public oversight.
By putting together a visual document which covers the drinking water systems of Chicago viewers are made aware of why and how the systems are made public or how they are hidden.
The biggest inspiration for the project is Trevor Paglen’s project “The Internet.” In which he photographed the physicality of the internet. He traveled the world and learned to dive in order to seek out the cables which connect the internet across the globe. He then displayed these photos alongside maps which showed the locations of the cables in the photographs. Thus revealing the physical and integral system which shapes the way we live.
The other project which inspired this one is Tayrn Simon’s “American Index of The Hidden and The Unfamiliar.” This is another project which through photography reveals the integral underbelly of systems which support our lives. In this project Simon gained access to a variety of locations which facilitate American life but are normally out of sight, such as a nuclear waste facility and a border control contraband room. Her project was used as inspiration for what kind of spaces would be put on display for the project.