water walks

In May 2019 LUDWIG presented their first pop-up watermuseum Verdronken Land (Drowned Land) in the Compagnietheater Amsterdam. In one weekend the collective presented a wide range of art forms depicting water-related problems and/or solutions the world is facing. We invited twenty-five water specialists to share their knowledge and form new alliances to encounter one of the biggest threats of our time: climate change.

One of the people presenting her work in the Watermuseum was Li An Phoa, founder of Drinkable Rivers, who walked the river Meuse from source to the North Sea in May-July 2018. Drinkable Rivers raises one simple question to the people living and working alongside the river: why can we not drink the water of our rivers anymore and what can we do to change that? If the rivers are clean it means that all the land and water connected to the rivers will also been clean, alive and fertile.

In October 2019 Drinkable Rivers and LUDWIG continued their international journey into the world of water together: they joined forces in theWaterWalks: an all-round exploration of the rivers of the world in art and (citizen)science where scientific and ecological data, images, sounds and any other sources that might be of interest are collected.

The aim of this project is to create a living database of the rivers of the world and to enable new information to be added at any point in time. The database will be presented in an attractive accessible way and give an insight into the state of rivers and the way they behave and change over time.

The first pilot project for the WaterWalks was Part I The Amstel. Various aspects of the river were explored and discussed with the people that live alongside the river by a team consisting of watershed mobiliser Li An Phoa, composer Kate Moore, programme maker Quirine Winkler and volunteers of Sensemakers. All the gathered information was directly streamed to the website.

In december 2019 we continued the project with Waterwalks Part II Song of the Ox. Composer Kate Moore took the initiative to walk solitarily as an artistic research, following the path of her own ancestral history. Her intention was to create a story track through the landscape as a search to rethink the way in which our land and resources are used to find a way that is kinder and more sustainable. She shared data, pictures, thoughts, sounds and writings that were posted directly on to waterwalks.nl.

As this project started as a spontaneous and individual action no extensive preparations had been planned – the walk developed in its own dynamic. People interested in following Kate’s journey were welcome to join her, or share to a wider audience.

On June 5th 2020 we continued our research on the rivers: Li An Phoa and Quirine Winkler explored the IJmeer as a testrun for a bigger event in 2021, in October we will walk the Noordzeekanaal with various partners. 

2020 will be used as a testfase for WaterWalks to develop the technology, finetune the optimal input for the app and evaluate the output on the map. In 2021 we will officially launch the project with a fine selection of ambassadors and open up possibilities for any individual who would like to contribute to the mapping and research of the rivers of the world.