Call on Water

"Call on Water" is a fountain that writes words in mid-air with plumes of vapour that ascend from a water basin. Dozens of poems by Mexican writer Octavio Paz are presented which describe readable air, the moment when the written word is spoken and becomes the atmosphere itself. The poems’ content becomes tangible briefly, almost breathable, then disappears in turbulence. The fountain uses hundreds of computer-controlled ultrasonic atomizers, placed under the reflecting water pool, which produce the plumes of cold vapour.

Some of the poems and excerpts chosen include the following: PASADO EN CLARO (exc) Ver el mundo es deletrearlo. Espejo de palabras: ¿donde estuve? Mis palabras me miran desde el charco de mi memoria. Brillan, entre enramadas de reflejos, nubes varadas y burbujas, sobre un fondo del ocre al brasilado las sílabas de agua. Ondulación de sombras, visos, ecos, no escritura de signos: de rumores. Mis ojos tienen sed. El charco es senequista: el agua, aunque potable, no se bebe: se lee. Al sol del altiplano se evaporan los charcos. Queda un polvo desleal y unos cuantos vestigios intestados. ¿Donde estuve?

A DRAFT OF SHADOWS (exc) To see the world is to spell it. Mirror of words: where was I? My words watch me from the puddle of my memory. Syllables of water shine in a grove of reflections, stranded clouds, bubbles above a bottom that changes from gold to rust. Rippling shadows, flashes, echoes, the writing not of signs, but of murmurs. My eyes are thirsty. The puddle is Stoic: the water is for reading, not drinking. Tn the sun of the high plains the puddles evaporate. Only some faithless dust remains, and a few intestate relics. Where was I?

AQUI Mis pasos en esta calle Resuenan en otra calle donde oigo mis pasos pasar en esta calle donde Sólo es real la niebla

HERE My steps along this street resound in another street in which I hear my steps passing along this street in which Only the mist is real

ESCRITURA Yo dibujo estas letras como el día dibuja sus imágenes y sopla sobre ellas y no vuelve

WRITING I draw these letters as the day draws its images and blows over them and does not return

JUVENTUD El salto de la ola más blanca cada hora más verde cada día más joven la muerte

YOUTH The leap of the wave whiter each hour greener each day younger death

HACIA EL COMIENZO (exc) Los signos se borran: yo miro la claridad

TOWARD THE BEGINNING (exc) The signs are erased: I watch clarity

VUELTA (exc) Palabras sin sombra. No las oímos, las negamos, dijimos que no existían: nos quedamos con el ruido. Sexto piso: estoy en la mitad de esta frase: ¿hacia donde me lleva? Lenguaje despedazado Poeta: jardinero de epitafios.

RETURN (exc) Shadowless words. We didn’t hear them, we denied them, we said they don’t exist: we were content with noise. Sixth floor: I am in the middle of this phrase: where will it take me? Mangled language. Poet: gardner of epitaphs.

EPITAFIO SOBRE NINGUNA PIEDRA (Exc) Mi casa fueron mis palabras, mi tumba el aire.

EPITAPH FOR NO STONE (Exc) My words were my house, air my tomb.

General info

Spanish name:
Nombras el Agua
Year of creation:
ultrasonic atomizers, aluminium and steel basin, custom electronics, computer, water
11,520W on 110-240V
Room conditions:
the piece works with natural or artificial light, indoor or outdoor. The piece generates a faint tinkling sound. The vapour generated by the atomizers is cold so it mostly precipitates back into the basin but some water does condense around the piece so anti-slip carpet is recommended. The piece does not humidify the exhibition room in any perceptible way.
295 x 114 x 35 cm
6 Editions, 1 AP



  • Custom hardware and software: Stephan Schulz and Nikolaos Chandolias
  • Industrial design: Sebastien Dallaire
  • Antimodular production: Carolina Murillo-Morales, Karine Charbonneau, Guillaume Tremblay, Sergio Clavijo, Lucía Barreto, Nima Navab, Humberto José Rodriguez, Pierre Fournier