What does water taste like? Does water have a language? What if it stopped? These are just some of the questions Sydney-born artist Janet Laurence addresses with H20 Water Bar, her atmospheric installation at Paddington Reservoir Gardens.

Part of Art & About Sydney, the artist’s reflective work allows you to sample water sourced from various regions of Australia, as well as a diverse public program brimming with exciting talks and performances. Through her artwork and curation, Laurence hopes to emphasise the presence and instability of water. To do so, she connects this ubiquitous and essential, but often unnoticed element with history, politics and poetics.

Laurence has been fascinated by the natural world and its relationship with people throughout her career. “[Nature] has always been a force for my work. The more I worked with it, the more I realised how important it is that we understand the fragility of it,” said Janet, who spends a lot of time researching issues around conservation. “We can’t live without water. The political issue of water is global. We’re not realising this enough here [in Sydney] – we think we have plenty of water, but in future we may not. Mining, pollution and climate change are affecting our supply.”

Janet invites people to taste the differences in water in order to understand that it has its own history, being and personality. It’s a call to think about where water comes from and a reminder to stay connected to different issues around its fragility across the country. H20 Water Bar is set in the cool caverns of the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, within an inner chamber which is not usually open to the public.

Don’t miss the series of events curated by Janet Laurence. Here are our picks:

The Aboriginal cultural value of water: From arid inland areas to rivers and wetlands, water has been central to Aboriginal culture for tens of thousands of years. Join Kamilaroi water scientist Bradley Moggridge as he shares traditional knowledge and contemporary experiences of the driest inhabited continent on earth.

When: 27 February, 6.30pm-7pm

How much: Free

Where: Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Waterloops: A performance by musicians Ben Fink and Mark Elliott exploring the musical possibilities of water. Vocals and soprano sax will play across looped sonic landscapes created from vessels filled with water.

When: 28 February, 6pm-8pm

How much: Free

Where: Paddington Reservoir Gardens


If Paddington Reservoir Gardens inspire you to search out other lesser-known watery sites around the city, we have just launched a brand new water-centric history walk on our free Culture Walks app.

Published: 18 Feb, 2016 | 0 Comments | Tags:

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