Gurfa
Cartographies of water

* Ongoing series. New works will be included when ready.

Technological changes permeate our daily life, and as a consequence, our way to express it. Language is a reflection of these changes. Until few years ago, the word sustainability was little known for many of us. Environmental organizations are now including it in their daily discourses and many industries are changing or designing their processes in order to accomplish sustainability requirements.

Besides making communication possible, the words employed in our languages reflect our sensibility, our preoccupations and what we think it’s crucial for us.In many places of the world, water is not only scarce: it is precious.

There is an Arabic word for the amount of water that can be scooped up in one hand: Gurfa. Although variable, this little volume can be thought as a unit of measurement. And sometimes a gurfa might make the difference between life and death. How many gurfas we consume and discard each time we use water while cleaning our teeth, taking a bath, in gardening, cooking or washing? Or in painting, sculpting or printing? How much water is wasted compared to the efficiently used?

Through the years I had learned to pay attention every time I use, drink or feel water.

I remember when I was a child looking at it in my hand and imaging it as a variable map, with an always-changing frontier as it squeezes through my fingers. Now as an adult I ask myself if the concept of sustainability can be felt and seized in the palm of a hand, just like the maps of my childhood…I see hands as territories with never ending meanings, life stories to which we don’t have access, and maps as a limited interpretation of those stories.

For this series I worked with what I have at hand: hands.And a little water, just the amount those hands could contain.In small volumes, it’s easier to feel water than to see it.
In fact, it’s difficult to see the water in these hands, but it was there for a while:just imagine the image of transparency.

Sounds poetical? Let’s come back to reality and to the concept of sustain. Maybe there will be a time in which we will talk about gurfas with the same easiness and frequency than we talk now about sustainability.

Roberto Fernández Ibáñez
2014

© Copyright 2011 - All rights reserved on the images and texts of this website, therefore prohibiting its total or partial reproduction by any means.
ampersand estudio gráfico