Have you ever seen a wall made of water?
Ned Kahn’s Rain Portal consists of two walls of panels on either side of the ground level interior staircase of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters in San Francisco. I have published many posts on the building’s “Escher Staircase” and Mr. Kahn’s Firefly exterior sculpture, but not so much Rain Portal because neither of my everyday cameras until now could do a good job of capturing what I wanted. However, my new iPhone 6 Plus does a very good job, and I managed to snag some decent shots.
Those squiggles are clear plastic tubes extending from top to bottom. Down those tubes flow recycled “grey water,” lit from behind to produce a sort of kinetic minimalist art, for lack of a better term. I found the most interesting details at the bottom of the tubes.
Is it just me, or do those darker sections remind anyone else of Van Gogh’s cypresses, as in The Starry Night? Not sure what’s in those dark sections (looks like foam to me).
San Francisco’s “grey water” has a reputation for unusual purity; in fact, I heard a tall tale of a PUC employee who would drink the stuff at parties to demonstrate how “safe” it was for human consumption. Someone politely encouraged him to stop doing that. Humans have funny bacteria: the single specimen of a species of bacteria that resides quite harmoniously with its human host in the lower intestine will put that same human in the hospital should it travel down your throat and end up in your stomach.
That’s another thing I’ve learned during my years at the SFPUC; Homo Sapiens constitutes one of the most interesting ecosystems on the planet.
Anyways, look forward to offering a lot of responses to this week’s Challenge.
Vonn Scott Bair