Workshop, Hydro-relations cluster

Presented at the Matter of Flux Festival 2023, Berlin

A collaboration with:
Lena Johanna Reisner (curator, writer, Berlin/Germany)
Nayeli Vega (artist, designer, researcher, Berlin/Mexico)
Sarah Hermanutz (artist, Berlin/Canada)


Vessels for Water picked up on ancient practices of collecting water and transformed them into a ritual for connection. Handmade objects served as containers for water and stories exploring the complex network of more-than-human hydrological relations.

In the months leading to the festival, the working group consisted of three artists and one curator who met for sessions of hand-crafting clay vessels. Working with this playful and tactile material developed a shared space of experimentation and gently connecting conversations. This open, non-hierarchical experience flowed into the workshop, where participants introduced themselves by sharing the name of a body of water that is meaningful to them. They were then each invited to select a handmade vessel for a collective walk along the nearby Panke River. 

These vessels were used to gather water from the river, carefully carry it back to the festival venue, and ritually pour it into a communal glass vessel, where it joined with water collected from other sources. The mindfulness of handling these variably delicate objects was intended to foster sensitivity and create a safe space of intimacy for sharing personal experiences with water. 

Conversations began during the meditative hours spent creating the vessels, and they were continued throughout the workshop as the group reflected on mutual relationships of care and containment, interdependence, and the watery embodiments of mothering both human and non-human lives. While sitting together alongside the riverbank and then around the central glass vessel in the festival venue, participants communed in a collective poetry reading and closing guided meditation, which sought to anchor them in tranquillity and connection with the continuum of external and internal waters.

As a relational experience, the workshop used artistic and performative methods to build watery intimacies. As symbols and agents of this experience, the vessels were gifted to the participants to carry these connections onward beyond the festival.