No-water Campus

No-water Campus

Student Artist: Ruiqian Ding
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Sustainability Focus: Insert which area of sustainability
Data Source: campus photography; 2016 report on campus water usage from Juliana Goodiaw-Morris
Media: wood, wax, photographic print

No-water Campus shows the water usage on campus in a sculptural form. The 3-dimensional map is composed of wood and wax, with the blue wax covering the wood representing water.

The 3-dimensional chart contains wooden structures with a photo of the CSUSM campus as the background. The data reflects the usage of water in different buildings on campus in 2016 and the consumption of water every month in the Arts building and Library.

I begin by collecting data about water. At first, I just focus on the water usage in the water hydration stations. I collected the relevant data every day. But I found that I wanted to make a bigger picture of the water usage with my project, and I considered how this data could be one part of a larger project.  Sustainability manager Juliana Goodlaw-Morris helped in this by providing data on the usage of water on campus. I worked with that data as the basis of first a representational data visualization, comprised of wax graphs.

I want to show the same data in another format and be more artistic. I choose the same material – wax. Wax is impermable. It is one of the reasons why the name of my project contains ”No Water.” At the same time, wax can resemble water in form.

Another material I used in the project is wood. In my installation, wood takes the form of the buildings on campus.

The process was both unpredictable and challenging. I cut wood into small pieces, and when I wanted to shape it like the building in the real world, it was hard to control. After completing the wood components, I attached them on the board and ”waxed” them. I melted the wax and poured it on the wood. The result is wax forms whose content is proportionate to the amount of water used in the buildings that are represented by the wooden forms.

In the wax form above, an indentation allows the sculpture to hold water, reinforcing the theme and the illustration of data on water usage.