Mining and society are intricately connected. We are so dependent upon mining that it is far more realistic to question how, when, and where we will mine than to question if we will mine.
But this brings forth some serious challenges. The resources we depend upon are finite, and we are consuming an ever-increasing amount of them. At the current rate of growth in consumption, it will not be long before we will need more resources than our planet can provide. What will we do then?
More significantly, what can and will we do to prevent this scenario from unfolding?
‘Rethink’ is an exploration into how society can become sustainable and what roles all of us play in achieving this goal. It is a call to action to begin the change now, with the recognition of the factors that can drive or inhibit such change. Most importantly, it is a dialogue on how we get from ‘here’ to ‘there’.
What do you think of when you think of water? Do your thoughts include images of movement? Perhaps images of water flowing down a river or waves lapping
on a beach come to mind.
They did for me as I sat down to draft the exhibit space for our new temporary exhibit - ‘Water: Beneath the Surface (running April 25 through the end of August) – which looks at some of the properties of water and how these properties shape both our world and our lives.
So how to explore shaping our world better than through an exhibit which is being shaped and formed through the movement of water?
My initial, perhaps ‘pie in the sky’ concept called for ‘rivers and streams’ to flow over artificial terrain. In some locations there would be erosion, while in others there would be deposition. Included in this would be a mineral gallery that rather than displaying static specimens would have consisted of mineral formations occurring from mineralized water either flowing or evaporating.
And all this would occur before plunging people into the deep end – deep end of the ocean that is.
A centerpiece of this exhibit is a display of our recently donated black smoker specimens. The challenge is how to bring alive these specimens. Video is good. Creating a simulation of the process is even better, although a bit of a challenge. While recreating the superheated flows of black smokers seemed a challenge, this did not mean that simulating some of the other seafloor phenomena presented in this exhibit was beyond possible. The issue was whether or not it was going to be beyond budget.
So the fluid design needed to be rethought.
If the water could not flow, perhaps the exhibit could, in its design, capture the artifacts of water. For example, instead of a flowing stream, there would be a dried stream bed. In the end, the lands became stylized. To simplify construction, curves became angles, with one angle taking precedent – 120 degrees – the interior angle of a hexagon.
If the exhibit was static, crystalline in structure – like a mineral- then it was to take on an aspect of the mineral consisting completely of water.
The design evolved from the fluid to the static - from the liquid to the solid. In some way, it perhaps captures what a world lacking water might look like after the water is gone. Perhaps this is fitting, for it may just remind us to consider how we use and manage our water while it still seems plentiful.