Channel

2011
Materials: glass bottle, spray nozzle, fish (Poecilia Endler), aquatic plant
Dimensions: variable
Photo credit: me / Claudio Bettio
 
A transparent glass bottle acts as an aquarium and is hosting a miniature living ecosystem: some clear water, an aquatic plant and a tiny fish. But the viewer’s attention is swiftly caught by the spray nozzle mounted on the bottleneck and its suggested meaning: if someone uses the spray, the living space for the organisms inside the bottle slowly shrinks.
 
The message is extremely clear and powerful: it is the viewer’s choice and responsibility to preserve the artwork, and by extension, man’s duty to maintain the balance of nature. Confronting the public’s conscience, ethical sense and self-control, Channel also conveys the ideas of potential destruction, inherent fragility on one hand, fundamental hope and possible harmony on the other.
 
Furthermore, in its original version, the piece was composed of two similar bottles, each one containing only one fish, one male and one female. This mirroring installation added further layers of meaning to the problem tackled by the one bottle variant by reflecting on existential questions, especially on our human condition and on the paradox of our self-generated isolation and loneliness.
 
Text by Rona Kopeczky (art historian, curator)