O.R.S. (Orbital River Station) is a
O.R.S. is an «
O.R.S. is a continuation of HeHe’s artistic projects that engage with environmental systems. It brings together two research interest of HeHe: their work on the representation of pollution and their series of environmental vehicle performances. O.R.S. is both an environmental vehicle and an artistic performance space to sense and experience the ecological dynamics of rivers.
With humor, the duo of artist HeHe questions the ever-present energy needs of contemporary life, visualizing social, industrial and ecological paradoxes that result from today's technological landscapes. For the O.R.S project, they took over the subject of water pollution and created a floating laboratory monitoring the water quality of rivers. In order to do so, they partnered with the Nano2Water team, which explores a portfolio of technologies including biosensing devices for selective recognition and capture of water contaminants. Together they worked on a device embedding such technologies allowing water quality real time monitoring. This Orbital River Station was the perfect way for the research team to test and refine their technology following the research path opened by the artists.
The first part of the residency was dedicated to discovering INL sensors, and finding what technology could be used in O.R.S. After long discussions and experiments they decided to use COFs (Covalent Organic Frameworks) prepared at INL and designed to capture lipophilic organic pollutants from water. This specific absorbent had been tested at INL under laboratory conditions to capture pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen and pesticides such as chlorpyrifos from water. This was an exciting material for O.R.S as it did more than simply monitor the situation by providing data – it physically captured and removed contamination from environments. Securely tethered to the O.R.S in a small bag by rope and chain, and immersed in the river Rhône for 2 weeks, the COF material was then returned to INL for analysis. The team found significant amounts of ibuprofen, diclofenac and topiramate; three of the most used pharmaceuticals. Chlorpyrifos was present in relatively high quantities.
A second avenue of research during the residency focused on a portable paper base sensor developed at INL that uses synthesized gold nanodots to detect sulphide ions, a dissolved form of sulphur, a contaminant caused by industrial activities for example mining, metallurgy petrochemical industries and pesticide runoff. The artists designed a new graphic form for the sensor that takes the form of a cartography of the River Seine. The paper map has been printed and is ready to be activated with the water samples along the 350 km stretch known as 'Les boucles de la Seine', a major waterway that connects Paris to the seaport of Le Havre. The water samples will be completed in summer respecting the established scientific protocol for collecting environmental data: date, GPS position, pH level and atmospheric temperature. Thus, once the samples will be placed on the nanogold dot maps, the representation of the riverscape will actually carry real water of the Seine and the river will be visible through the absence-presence of its sulphide contamination. The nanogold map will become an artwork to showcase on cultural venues.
Residency final video