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2018 Annual Conference

Philadelphia

March 01-04, 2018

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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Sant Khalsa

SPE Member since 2001
Member Chapter: West

Western Waters

Western Waters addresses the commodification of nature, water as consumer product, and human desire - a never-ending thirst. I am fascinated by the necessity and absurdity of these stores, and the way these venues have come to represent the source of a natural experience. Of course, these stores are merely elements of entrepreneurial enterprise - constructed sites to provide the consumer with the most essential requirement for life and survival. The success of these stores is based on consumersÂ’ fear that their tap water is not safe to drink and on providing an alternative to bottled water. Today, plastic bottles have replaced earthen vessels, and to fetch our water, we travel in polluting automobiles to and from this fabricated representation of a river, well, or spring. I employed a photographic strategy atypical to my personal photographic style to present the subject content in a more objective way. This straightforward typology approach to the subject emphasizes the sites, the store names and other signage, architectural elements, and the mostly generic strip mall settings. I intended the work to also reference the photographs of Walker Evans, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Ed Ruscha. The 60 selected photographic images in the Western Waters wall installation piece depicts water stores in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, and Southern Nevada. The installation pattern refers to geography and mapping, where the stores are situated in the four states in relation to each other and my road trip experience when making the photographs. These images will serve in the future as a historical document, either registering a fleeting fad or laying the foundation of what will become commonplace in our society. -Sant Khalsa

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