Documentation of ‘Time Pools: Accessing the Aquifer’
Art Museum at the University of Memphis, April-May 2013

Concept, Animation, Software (Max/Jitter, Arduino)


120,000 years ago, during an age of Saber-Tooth Tigers and Wooly Mammoths, rain poured down on Memphis and soaked into the soil. The resulting accumulation of water is the aquifer: a watery time capsule, in which rain from different ages is stored until the water flows to Memphis homes. Time Pools: Accessing the Aquifer provides an apparatus for examining the aquifer’s liquid history. Along with The League of Imaginary Scientists, University of Memphis students brainstormed a cross-disciplinary dive into the Aquifer, resulting in an exhibition spurred on by the Ground Water Institute, that literally dives into the Memphis water table, one decade at a time. Cloud computing, a method for sharing data across a network, is parallel to the strata of Memphis’ shared water supply, since Memphis dwellers access water from throughout the ages. Time Pools: Accessing the Aquifer reveals a time pool where data about and from the Aquifer’s water from different years becomes visible. Peering into the time pool — its layers spanning the aquifer and the ages — one may question: “How deep is now, and how far is 10,000 years? Where was my water 50 years ago, and where is it going in the next decade?”

Time Pools: Accessing the Aquifer is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between The League of Imaginary Scientists, art students at the University of Memphis, and Michelle Dry and Dr. Scott Schoefernacker from the University of Memphis Ground Water Institute. The purpose of the project, like many of the League’s endeavors, is to explore scientific material through art and infuse both with a sense of play.

For more information, check the Time Pools page on the AMUM website.