project image
Jolanda Jansen

first performed on June 11, 2019
Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Netherlands
performed once in 2019


Boston, MA


My durational performance “Water Moving” was part of the exhibition “Maalstroom.” The context of the exhibition was a focus on landscape, on boreal forests and their growth and decline, translated into artworks using paper, water, and graphite to explore concepts of disintegration and decay.

In the performance of “Water Moving” I watched water disappear as it moved across the floor and evaporated. I started each day at a different point on a circle drawn around the perimeter of the room, pouring out a liter of water, and then watching and marking its movement. On each hour I drew a line around the water that remained, writing the date and time along the lines.

It really was the water that was performing, and the public joined me in watching the water evaporate. They examined the traces of the water from previous days, and the drawings that began to reveal a topographic map of the surface of the floor. While intimately-scaled and perhaps deceptively simple, this performance also allowed us to consider larger questions.

Taking my cue from the visitors, we sometimes sat in silence watching the water disappear as reflections moved across its surface, but other times we had conversations that ranged from the personal to the political, from discussions of poetry to science. We talked about time passing, and how it felt to slow down enough to watch a process that was nearly invisible. We discussed the phenomena of surface tension, the cycles of rain and evaporation, and the formation of clouds. We examined the salts that are left behind even as clean drinking water evaporates. We considered the movement of the tides, the Dutch’s ongoing relationship to water, and how the country survives below sea level. We mourned the depletion of the earth’s fresh water and the impact of global warming.

At the end of the twelve days the entire floor was covered in a drawing that marked the passing of time, and the vanishing of twelve liters of water into the air.