The Cyclical Time of Water

Water nourishes all things; it is a matrix, a mother, and the principle of genesis. Everything is born from water and returns to water, while it remains eternal, the source and end of all things. Heraclitus of Ephesus uses the metaphor of water to explain his theory of becoming: The eternal flow in relation to time and its relative transformation. The endless flow of reality and the perennial birth and death of things are also found in Nietzsche’s cyclical time theory, in which the universe dies and is reborn according to temporal cycles, eternally repeating its course and always remaining itself. This concept of cyclicality can be associated with the perpetual motion of the waves of the sea, which advance and retreat with a constant rhythm that nullifies the concept of time: we can no longer distinguish their beginning and end. This transports us to a timeless dimension where past, present, and future converge at the same moment. The cyclical time of water leads us to reflect on one of the most discussed and significant themes of the last decades: climate change. It is expected that in the coming decades most of the Earth’s coastline will be submerged by water due to the melting of the glaciers and the consequent rise in sea level. Is this a prophetic act, a catastrophe, or the normal course of life on Earth returning to its point of origin? Will the water that started life be the architect of the end? In any case, we may soon find ourselves living in a landscape transformed by water, which we should be ready for. Should this happen, reviewing our lifestyles, our habits, and the way we build our homes will become a fundamental theme on both the global and local scale. In the near future, we should therefore learn not to fear water and its possible threats, but instead be able to live with it. Instead of raising barriers that protect us from “environmental catastrophes,” we should be able to develop habitats based on synergy between man and nature habits that are capable of adapting to changing environmental conditions. Can we imagine a future in which it will be possible to build amphibious systems that actively react to changing water levels? “Floating Life” proposes a vision for a new resilient urban model. The project is conceived within a future scenario in which man, architecture, and nature will establish a new balance, where water will no longer mark the end, but the beginning of a new era.



Type: Exhibition at the Biennale di Pisa 2019

Director: Alfonso Femia

Location: Arsenali Repubblicani di Pisa

Dates: 21.11 - 01.12 2019

Project: SET Architects

Team: Lorenzo Catena, Onorato Di Manno, Andrea Tanci, Miruna Duru

With the Support: Future Architecture Platform, Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO)‎ - Ljubljana (Matevz Celik, Milan Dinevski, Damjan Kokalevski)

Video: Miruna Duru

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