How can we appropriate the tools of commercializing and privatizing water, by looking at the history of water containers, to create new narratives of water Ownership?


The container is the vessel, and with that I’m not only talking about it’s primary function as a carrier of the fleeting water. I want to use the container as a vessel to drive this research. Giving me a lens to see where the streams of water cross paths with humanity. On each corner where a vessel is used, we are influencing, containing or redirecting water. From the first moments in hides or clay pots, we have moved to containing water in almost all aspects of life; where such containers can be the smallest disposable plastic bottle, to the biggest dams that hold immense amounts of water and create complete new lakes. This research has focussed on how privatizing and commodifying water on a big scale has not been beneficial to the parties that need these sources most. Water trade is often convoluted and its lack of regulation can create vulnerability for many groups (P H Gleick). Exporting water in form of virtual water for example, marks a power structure in which wealthier countries are able to outsource their intensive water use to other countries. As put forward by Gonzalez and Yanes in ‘the last drop’ I want to tell the story of countering this commodification to work towards water as a public right.