The Diverse World of H2O (Water)

The Diverse World of H2O (Water):
- and its connection with sustainability from around the world as graphical posters

The next World War, they say, will be fought over water. And we also know that the most important sustenance as life-saver after air is water.
As if on cue, India’s “waterman” Dr Rajendra Singh – honored with the Stockholm Water Prize and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “greening” a portion of the desert in Rajasthan - maintains that the most strife-ridden part of the world today, viz., Syria, also once the cradle of the world’s most ancient civilization – Assyria – is not in the throes of a “religious/sectarian” war as is reported. Instead, this war started the day they dammed the Euphrates River upstream that was once the wellspring of this culture’s prosperity. His fear that through the mindless damming of rivers we may, in fact, be creating similar Syrias elsewhere, is neither understated nor dire enough.
In a tribute to Water = H2O as an issue, as universal in its reach as it is critical, here are a set of posters drawn from designers worldwide. Posters that attempt to articulate graphically this extremely dire situation that afflicts many parts of the world today. While back home, our own “waterman” spins his magic by espousing the novel idea that replacing “red heat” with “blue heat”, green heat” and “yellow heat” will help create precipitation in the skies.
In a chain of curatorial endeavors initiated by the efforts of Cyntia Concari and Roberto Marcatti, the H2O series has moved from country to country to appeal to the world for a need to preserve rather than extract water as a resource.
In this, H2O is particularly well served for being a series of posters than any other media, because the poster is much more than just a piece of paper in announcing an intent. It is, instead, “advertisement, art, political artifact, commodity” rolled into one, according to the famed cultural critic, Susan Sontag, who even claims that posters are a “substitute for experience.”
Posters as a medium also attained the status of art form when distinguished artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Mucha, and Beardsley turned to the poster to infuse this otherwise mundane media with their talent to turn and turned it into an art form.
This radical transformation of the poster into an art form would not have been possible, of course, if the printing industry did not simultaneously perfect the technique of color lithography along with the mass-production of large and inexpensive images.
Little wonder, therefore, that unlike public notices where the audience is a mute spectator, the poster aims to “seduce, to exhort, to sell, to educate, to convince, to appeal.”


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