There is a delicate balance between water resources and human society. Each civilisation learning from the last to better understand the complexities of these dynamics to create a legacy of sustainable water management that has become daily practice in many cultures.
With a fast-changing climate and uneven and dramatic population growth, water imbalance is a real concern for the future of life on earth. We can only travel as far as we have water to take us there – be it across the desert or into space, and our opportunities to develop and innovate rely on our access to water.
We are on the cusp of a technological revolution and we are looking outside of our own planet for inspiration; developing new innovative tools, the likes of which we have never had to solve problems, the likes of which we’ve never faced. In helping us mitigate the effects of global water imbalance, machine learning, artificial intelligence and quantum computing will allow us to amalgamate, process and digest previously inaccessible quantities of data. In a collaborative effort this allows us to model and forecast for a range of scenarios and design a better future.
Imagine a UK Pavilion that captures the opportunity and power of water. Downpour is an immersive environment that dramatises the effects of water abundance and scarcity and showcase all that Britain is doing to contribute to the world’s future. Upon approach, the diversity of water scarcity and abundance is illustrated with an abstracted arid landscape punctuated with ‘water signature apertures” and an intermittent dramatic downpour of rain falling in a column towards the surface, before cycling back. In the heat of the desert people will be drawn towards this iconic feature, a beacon of promise and hope. Water from the DOWNPOUR runs across the landscape, through each of the apertures, to fill a corresponding pool below. These Apertures allow both light and water to filter through to the subterranean landscape, creating a cool, damp environment: a contemplative space away from the Dubai heat.
The combination of the ‘water signatures’ will come together to form a rich soundscape, a global orchestra of water reaching a crescendo when the downpour is live. The sound of the rainfall will be enhanced using percussive surfaces, amplification and the resonance within the space. The amount of rain which falls will be triggered by collected or even live weather data. We will collaborate with the Met Office and academic advisory Prof. Ann Light of the University of Sussex, who works with harnessing the power of citizen science, to uncover the most meaningful and powerful data sets to use for this purpose. Areas of heavy rainfall will gather in pools where visitors can dip their feet. These can become projection surfaces, islands to hop onto where the visitor may get a personal experience, or simply spaces to reflect. There will be five larger pools or shafts of light within this picture, around which five themes will centre. The themes will be a series of cyclical stories that the visitors can dip in and out of.