« L'art et la matière » Exhibition

La Monnaie de Paris, September 6-20, 2017

DROPLET INDUCTION Performance September 6, 5.30-6.30pm

THE DROPLET is an art project that creates a space, a meeting point, where water related narratives can be shared and explored. The primary objective of “THE DROPLET” project is to raise awareness worldwide around WATER conservation, WATER scarcity, WATER Benefits and WATER as the means to extend ourselves and all life forms on EARTH. The project also treats WATER as the creative and poetic medium of the psyche as the anchoring mirror of the unconscious.

THE DROPLET is a pavilion in the shape of a drop of water defined by a mist envelope. THE DROPLET creates a chamber within itself that serves as a stage in which to share stories related to the infinitely diverse aspects of WATER. This space will cast its message in the form of evolving conferences, performances and consciousness activities that will take place in and around THE DROPLET itself.

As THE DROPLET progresses it will have curatorial content based on the historical role of WATER at the location where it is placed. Through a heightened synesthetic mixture of Sound, Vision, Touch and Sight, THE DROPLET will allow visitors to experience first-hand the importance of WATER and bring awareness through “conscious participation” for WATER protection and conservation.

THE DROPLET’s mission, which is part of a larger collaborative project initiated and guided by Lola Karimova-Tilyaeva, is to be placed at locations around the world to attract experts, artist and visitors to generate awareness and provide fund raising opportunities towards WATER protection.

THE DROPLET is an ever changing presence as the mist, soundscapes, weather, time of day and visitors change around it.


"In the case of the Droplet at Monnaie de Paris, the '13 + 2' dimensionalised sound has been used to create a kind of 'inductive envelope' by which I mean an imaginary portal through which one can enter into different time periods that occurred on that same spot through the centuries. La Monnaie has almost shockingly been continuously functioning for more than 1,150 years, so the soundscape immerses you first of all in a utopian and pastoral period before La Monnaie existed, and then transporting the visitor through different stages including the early industrial revolution followed by the French Revolution, the onset of the steam age and finally the deluges and droughts that are predicted in the nearish future as Climate Change takes a hold. The basic idea is for visitors to be affected emotionally about an issue that is often consumed as a political abstraction which won't seem to affect 'us' although it may happen to other people elsewhere. The result will hopefully be more every-day engagement in the issue of water and climate change, just as some of the world's greatest climate scientists are supporting The Droplet with contributes quotes about water security and conservation around the base of the Droplet." ML


Four scents were created for the Installation.

1) Paris before man:

This scent is intended to be reminiscent of a breeze of fresh air, before the impact of man. Olfactory facets include resinous trees like cedar, sandalwood and vetiver, supported with a green and damp facet and the scent of the cut grass. The blend is a contrast between air & earth, humidity & dryness.

2) Paris in 1789:

Gunpowder represents the revolutionaries – with a strong metallic and smoky aspect. We can also smell the famous painting “La Liberté Guidant le Peuple” by E. Delacroix. Finally, the blend is topped off by royal notes: The animalic, powdery, dusty Fleur-de-Lys, and the warm perspiring skin of the royal horses.

3) Paris in the Industrial Revolution:
This scent starts with a rose facet to symbolize the growth of socialism and the women’s entry into the labour market, followed by a smoky/metallic/mechanical note, representing the construction of the steam engine and the activity in industrial cities. Musks represent a stronger world, with the expectation of work for all.

4) Paris Under Water:
A brackish, dark scent, with the floating remains of human civilization. Our uncertain future is represented by a fishy note and dirty water, with a smoky facet to symbolize the end of industry. The blend is finished with powdery and dusty raw materials to create an aspect of human sweat and decay.

All scents were created by Charlotte Vellard for the IAO (in collaboration with Marcos Lutyens), on location at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles.


In tune with The DROPLET being a forum for conversations about climate consciousness the outer area of the installation includes quotes by some of the world's leading Climate Scientists on the one hand, and on the other, quotes by local Angelenos about their hopes and fears related to water issues and water security.

Quotes by 8 world renowned Climate Scientists are engraved around the base of the outer plinth.

Omar Yaghi
Water is essential to life but one third of the world has no access to clean water.

Peter Gleick
Absent from traditional water planning has been any voice for natural ecosystems.

Kamal Meattle
Human behavior must change along with the way we think about Climate Change. Everybody is part of the problem and also the solution.

Richard Seager
Both too little and too much water - droughts and floods - threaten lives and livelihoods and Climate Change is making the threats more dire.

Jean Jouzel
Droughts, flooding, deluges, cyclones: preserving our climate is imperative to prevent even more extreme weather events from happening.

Matthew England
Climate Change will profoundly disrupt our water cycle: causing severe drought, floods and catastrophic ice melt.

Yasmin Siddiqi
Prioritizing contributions to sustainable ecosystems and improving river health is fundamental for strengthening water security.

Phil Jones
There are limits to the amount of water humans can and should take from the natural ecosystem. We should learn to live within those limits.

The MacDonald Gill font that was used for these quotes was specially contributed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commssion. I was drawn to the font as this year falls on the 100th year anniversary of some of the bloodiest battles of WWI. Many of the war memorials were designed by my relative, the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

On four benches above the Climate Scientist quotes are phrases generated through local Los Angeles interviews by five students from ArtworxLA, an organization that brings the arts to at-risk youth. The layout and formatting was designed by the students themselves. Each bench has a different theme: Hope, fear, pitfalls and solutions.

Q and A:

Is this work environmentally oriented and if so is that the main focus of your practice?:

ML: My work in general is based around consciousness. In a world that most of us are experiencing as a mosaic of conflicting impressions, above all in the form of electronic communications from near and far, past and present, the exterior world is continually changing and its authenticity is constantly being thrown into question.

The only place where all these impressions are gathered is in our own mind and this is the only 'true' constant reality we can experience. For this reason, I have chosen the mind of the observer, or visitor to be at the center of my work.

Would you say that this project is a call to action?

ML: This is why when we approach a subject matter such as the environment and how to protect it, sure, we can build wind turbines, or recycle, or avoid buying products made with palm oil, but ultimately the changes that happen in the outside world can only happen if there is a change in mentality.

Many of the issues that we are confronted with today are beyond the usual scope of our senses, as they are too large scale or invisible or slowly changing for us to notice. This is true with CO2 levels in the atmosphere, or the global rise in temperatures. This is why creative projects must act as clutches that gear down these invisible realities around us and allow them to be digested by our minds, so as to affect our actions both at the conscious and unconscious level.

How did you come about creating The Droplet?

ML: 'The idea behind the Droplet was to get as close to 'sculpting' the form of a rain drop in 'thin air.' The aluminium tubes are the simplest of conduit through which millions of droplets of water vaporize to form this drop-like entity. My work is very much geared as an exploration of the subliminal: of aspects of the world around us that are transparent, or immaterial, or in the case of water, without taste, and yet essential as the basic solvent of life. Within that effort to 'cast' a droplet in the air, many permutations of engineering had to be explored in order to create a structure that 'flowed' and yet was sturdy enough to catch the sense of a droplet of water just as it strikes the earth.

In terms of water as an inspiration, my grandfather was a civil engineer specializing in water I spent a lot of time as a kid in the Alt Empordà in Catalonia and there were two main figures in the community of the day: the artist Salvador Dalí and my grandfather was the other. My grandfather was the 'bringer of water' and hence fertility to the whole area, through the building of major irrigation and hydro-electrical works. In other words,

I grew up in and around water and its related social issues and yet I was also inspired by the great surrealist artist where imagination seemed to be the underlying basis of reality and views of the shores of the Costa Brava can be found in so many of his paintings. In fact just yesterday I visited the dam that my grandfather built in the Pyrenees as well as Port Lligat, where Dali's studio can be found.

I have also explored water as the symbol of the unconscious for instance I created a project for the Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale that explored teaching visitors to 're-learn' how to breathe underwater in response to rising sea levels and the consequent loss of land that so many nations face.'

Project presented by The Harmonist

with the support of the Alberta Pane Gallery

Made possible by philanthropist Lola Karimova-Tilyaeva

Thanks also to:

Segundo Broggi, general manager of The Harmonist
Séverine Bader & Alberta Pane

AD Intérieurs
The AD team: Curators Cédric Saint André Perrin and Marie Kalt
The Monnaie team: Pierre Nils Stenstad

Vincent Avila
Cecilia Flores
Jonathan Mayorga
Blanca Martinez
Alfredo Alvarado
Thanks also to Cynthia Campoy Brophy and Artworxla team

Sound design
Julia Owen
Aaron Drake
Sage Lewis
Scott Cazan

Institute for Art and Olfaction
Saskia Wilson-Brown
Charlotte Vellard
Micah Hahn

Scott Froschauer, Big Show Industries
Corégie Expo
David Laurent and team

Yi-Ping and Jasper as always :)


The Droplet Project, L'Art et La Matière, Musée Monnaie de Paris, France, 2017


The Droplet Project, L'Art et La Matière, Musée Monnaie de Paris, France, 2017

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