We are made of stars.
“Water is an essential life-sustaining element. It pervades our lives and is deeply embedded in our cultural backgrounds. The basic human needs of a secure food supply and freedom from disease depend on it.“ – Kofi A. Annan1
Water is, both physically and psychologically, the basic element of human life.
It is also a metaphorical resource for understanding human life and its psychology and, for this reason, it has been used in different intellectual and cultural disciplines from philosophy to psychology, from religion to art.
Leonardo da Vinci called water the “vetturale di nature” (the vehicle of nature), completing its analogy with the blood in our bodies. Leonardo affirmed that “water is the driving force of all nature.”
“Cosmic dust may even be connected with life itself,”.2
Water is the predominant compound, which depending on the moment of life and gender, ranges between eighty and fifty percent, but no compound of our bodies is foreign to the composition of the universe.
Our physical composition resembles comets and asteroids that reach the Earth from space; as Carl Sagan said in the famous phrase: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff,”3 (subsequently becoming the name of this side project as well).
Ice was already known to have existed in comets, but liquid water was considered impossible for a long time4, until traces of melting ice were found in several comets.
In 2011, the discovery of liquid water in the comet Wild 2 gave rise to various theories. The water composition of comets was considered to be different to the terrestrial one until the finding in November of the same year of 103/Hatley, which came from Jupiter: its composition was very similar to the water of our oceans5. These discoveries gave rise to the theory that the mystery of the origin of terrestrial water could be explained, and that it came to Earth from space, and this discovery drove more interest towards the spatial search for water on other planets.
“Water is an essential factor in the emergence and continuation of life on Earth, and a vital step in our quest for signs of extraterrestrial life,”6.
This predicts a new risk due to the human tendencies of colonisation and overexploitation of resources wherever we are.
The overexploitation of fossil fuels that since the industrial revolution has increased the methane emissions into the atmosphere, added to the toxic substances and the problem of the disposal of new non-biodegradable products, and has led to a global re-warming of the Earth long before it was expected. This new warming, unlike the prehistoric or the Permian period, augurs the extinction of the species on which all human beings depend, thereby ensuring their end on Earth.
The need for the implementation of creativity as a tool to train people in diverse thinking that makes it possible to search for new solutions, renewable energies, and ecological sustainability is now a pressing need for our survival.
We cannot be fooled by existing illusions, such as the myth that in the past humans lived in balance with nature. Yuval Noah Harari shows us in his studies that “The romantic contrast between modern industry that “destroys nature” and our ancestors who “lived in harmony with nature” is groundless. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to extinction. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of life,”7.
Ecological balance will only be possible with a change of mindset.
This project seeks to raise awareness of this interdependence through the aesthetic experience and the implicit ideas that the images attempt to show.
Dual reflections search harmonic fluid in an aqueous universe, in stellar water.
The dual mirror of humans, space, water and natural environment allude to the interdependence between nature and humans, but also to the constant interest in seeing our reflection in nature, and we can certainly find a mirror in nature where any damage caused will be returned to us.
Water, which physically constitutes us, is the basis of our ecosystem; we are perpetually bathed by this vital fluid, and humans – though without gills, – need water in the same fashion as fish.
Respect for our origin, evolution, and our own constitution should be a priority in education and in our way of thinking and behaviour.
The search for water and other resources in space could be positive for our survival as long as our mindset is replaced and balanced; otherwise, we run the risk of further exploiting not only terrestrial resources but space resources as well.
New mentalities and an increased consciousness are now, more than ever, the key to achieving the ecological balance that could guarantee our survival as a species and that of many other species whose existence we depend on. In any case, we know that human destiny is bonded to Earth, and we know that nature will open its way and will remain in perpetual transformation after our departure, thus we should not forget that it is us who need nature and not the other way around. Today we have the opportunity to change the course of human history by assuming responsibility.
- 1. Kofi A. Annan (Novel prize and 7th UN Secretary General), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2006). “Water, a shared responsibility” the United Nations World Water Development Report 2. New York: Berghahn Books. ↵
- 2. Janaki & Chandra Wickramasinghe, William Napier (Cardiff University, Uk). (2010). “Comets and the origin of life”. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.Pte. Ltd. ↵
- 3. Carl Sagan. (1980). “Cosmos” (p.141). New York: Random House. ↵
- 4. Janaki & Chandra Wickramasinghe, William Napier (Cardiff University, Uk). (2010). “Comets and the origin of life”. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.Pte. Ltd. ↵
- 5. Rosa M.Tristán. (2011). “El agua llegó a la Tierra a bordo de los cometas”. 2011, de El mundo.es website: http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/10/05/ciencia/1317818052.html ↵
- 6. Thérèse Ecrenaz. (2004). “A la recherche de l’au dans l’univers” (“searching for water in the universe)”. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Editions Berlin / Praxis Publishing Ltd. ↵
- 7. Yuval Noah Harari. (2014). “Sapiens: A brief history of humankind. UK & Israel: Penguin Random House Co. ↵