LATHOS Installation

S1 Artspace, Sheffield,  June 2011



“Water has been identified as one of the most important natural resources and somewhat different from the rest, because it is viewed as a key to prosperity and natural wealth.”[1]

In nature clean water is produced simply through the evaporation of the oceans and the rain cycle.

Contrary to this simplicity, countries with water scarcity problems often build big desalination plants that use very sophisticated technology to purify the water. This technology is heavily patented and usually developed by industries based in the developed world.

LATHOS  collective in dialogue with scientists from the fields of engineering and chemistry, is attempting to put the natural cycle  of water production  in a box and to create a network for developing this idea using an open source approach to information and technology.

Anyone can produce clean water from the simplest of means.

There are many ways to construct a small scale water distillation machine for domestic use. The machines can be built with simple materials that are locally sourced. The designs can be easily adapted according to the needs of the makers/users.

LATHOS uses the opportunity of this show to unveil a laboratory for the development of three different prototypes, all based on the same simple principle[2]. Each one is at a different stage of development.  Work on them will continue over the next few years. Testing and research for the drinking quality of the produced  water and the identification of the safest available materials, has already started.

If you are interested in being part of this project’s network and making your own desalinator, please take a free handout with instructions on how to build your own machine.

In   you can find more details.

Feel free to post your own designs, and ideas and take part in the conversations that ensue.

[1] Alfred Marshall, Water as an Element of National Wealth, 1879. [One of the most influential English economists of late 19th cent. A professor at Cambridge. John Keynes was amongst his students]

[2] For the purposes of this show, the dirty water came from rain water collected from the roof of the gallery, and  (due to low rainfall !!) also water from the  local river. The produced clean water is used to feed the plants in the gallery.

Genius loci

Architecture belongs to poetry, and its purpose is to help man to dwell. But architecture is a difficult art. To make practical towns and buildings is not enough. Architecture comes into being when a “total environment” is made visible……
In general, this means to concretize the genius loci. This is done by means of buildings which gather the properties of the place and bring them close to man. The basic act of architecture is therefore to understand the “vocation” of the place. In this way we protect the earth and become ourselves part of a comprehensive totality.
What is here advocated is not some kind of “environmental determinism”. We only recognize the fact that man is an integral part of the environment, and that it can only lead to human alienation and environmental disruption if he forgets that. To belong to a place means to have an existential foothold, in a concrete everyday sense.
Christian Norberg – Schulz
Genius Loci – Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture



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