Ancient Water

Ancient Water was written to accompany the work of Hong Kong ceramic artist Lau Yat Wai, which depicted colonial buildings from Hong Kong as if they had been submerged in water, when exhibited in the Oriental Room at the Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington for Interbeing, August-December 2021. In that room, the words of Ancient Water were spoken in a recording by Clive Holland. Interbeing was a project curated by Joseph Young and Kay Aplin.

“All we are and all we ever were is water. 

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea

Earth has been a watery planet for 4.4 billion years. There has been enough water to fill the oceans since the beginning of the planet’s formation. There is water in the seas, and water in the clouds, and there is water locked deep in the earth’s crust, mantle and core – enough to fill the oceans again five or ten times over. ‘From space,’ Heathcote Williams says, ‘the planet is blue./ From space, the planet is the territory/ Not of humans’

William Anders framed our image of the earth as a blue planet. He was born in Hong Kong, the son of a US Navy lieutenant, in 1933….”

The full text of Ancient Water is available as a pdf:

Accompanying the work was a small additional work, a stack of Observer books, which have become a recurring motif in Dan Thompson’s work.

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