Not a Drop to Drink invites you to take a seat at the table for tomorrow as part of REFUGE 2021 at Arts House. A large-scale installation and series of meals that invite community to prepare for climate crisis, this fascinating work features a large glass table pressed with drought-tolerant plants and soft temporary architecture as a central element, a pedagogical platform that hosts performative meals swathed in an immersive soundscape that tells the stories behind the table’s plants.
For six years, Arts House’s annual REFUGE program has imagined how we might prepare in the face of a disaster. In 2021 we ask what happens when these crises meet. From droughts to floods, mass displacements to pandemics and heatwaves, REFUGE was never just a hypothetical. For the final instalment in this long look at climate crisis, emergency experts, artists, scientists and deep thinkers from a broad range of communities share knowledge, experience and tradition.
Food shortages due to water scarcity is one of the biggest climate concerns for people living in Australia, and everything on this drought-responsive menu has been developed through interviews with experts ranging from Indigenous Elders and farmers to water-policy lawyers and botanists.
Set inside a temporary architecture, featuring an immersive soundscape by Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, these meals – designed by Mabu Mabu’s Nornie Bero – conjures a space that centres conversations on these urgent matters.
This is a collaborative work, and the artist offers gratitude to all the people who generously spoke to her at length about water scarcity. Sound: Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey; Sound Consultants/ Collaborators: Fayen d’Evie, Andy Slater; Cultural Consultant: Senior Boonwurrung Elder N’arwee’t Carolyn Briggs; Food design: Nornie Bero, Mabu Mabu; Interviews: Nayoka Bundle, Zena Cumpston, Claire G. Coleman, Jen Rae, Aviva Reed, Adam Grubb, Erin O’Donnel, Caitlyn Molloy, Neville Walsh and Tom May (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria); Creative Producer: Sarah Rowbottam.
This work was exhibited in Melbourne during May 2021 at Arts House in North Melbourne.