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 Flow 3

Flow 2  Water    

Certainly, one of the most frequently occurring visual motifs in my artwork is water, that most familiar and yet most amazing of substances. The more I look at water, in its infinity of guises, and the the more I learn about it, the more extraordinary it seems. Water's possibly unique visual diversity is a reflection of its fascinating physical diversity.


The constantly changing character of watermust surely be unsurpassed in nature, at least at the temperatures we humans consider as "normal": the overwhelming mass and solidity of the glacier, the crystalline lightness of snow, the apparent density of fog, the elusiveness of mist, the mobility of cloud, the manifestations of liquid water too numerous to contemplate.  

Water, of course, is essential to life as we know it, and it makes up close to 60 per cent of the adult human body, and up to 75 per cent of infants. It is the most abundant compound on earth, and covers 70 per cent of its surface. But water also has the metaphorical qualities that arise from its visual diversity, not least the way it blurs the world above the surface with endlessly engrossing distortions, and the way it blurs the world below the surface with refraction and veils of light and shade. So when it comes to using film and video, water's trickster character opens up the potential for a metaphorical reading of the image or sequence of images.  


For the renowned video artist Bill Viola "water recurs as a metaphor for life and being , for transition between states and for transcendence." As a child he almost drowned, an experience he would later recall as "blissful, marked by a beautiful intensity that was streaked with rays of light." For me, water can be translated into a metaphor for the invisible processes that hold the universe together, the waves of time, matter and particle that flow through all existence - creating, destroying, expanding, contracting.



Water is fluid, soft, and yielding.  

Yet water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield.

Whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is  hard.


FLOW Aust 63 detail 12
BLACK ROCK VAPOUR 3.14-447-Edit.jpg
VAPOUR - FLOW Vapour 25

Water is ...

The only substance occurring naturally in all three phases as solid, liquid and gas on the Earth's surface


Transfer of heat between ocean and atmosphere by phase change

Dissolves more substances in greater quantities than any other common liquid


Important in chemical, physical, and biological processes

Density is determined by temperature, salinity and pressure, in that order of importance. The temperature of maximum density for pure water is 4 °C. For seawater, the freezing point decreases with increasing salinity.


Controls oceanic vertical circulation, aids in heat distribution, and allows seasonal stratification

Surface tension is the highest of all common liquids.


Controls drop formation in rain clouds and  important in cell physiology

Conduction of heat is the highest of all common liquids.


Important on the small scale, especially on cellular level

Heat capacity is the highest of all common solids and liquids.


Prevents extreme range in Earth's temperatures, so acts as a great heat moderator

Latent heat of fusion is the highest of all common liquids and most solids.


Thermostatic heat-regulating effect due to the release of heat on freezing and absorption on melting

Latent heat of vaporization is the highest of all common substances.


Immense importance: a major factor in the transfer of heat in and between ocean and atmosphere, driving weather and climate

Refractive index increases with increasing salinity and decreases with increasing temperature.


Objects appear closer than in air

Transparency is relatively great for visible light; absorption high for infrared and ultraviolet


Important for photosynthesis

Sound transmission is good, compared with other fluids.


Allows for sonar and precision depth recorders to rapidly determine water depth, and to detect subsurface features and animals; sounds can be heard great distances underwater

Compressibility is only slight


Density changes only slightly with pressure/depth


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