Luzinterruptus describe themselves as an “anonymous art collective, that conduct urban interventions in public spaces. We use light as a raw material, and night as a canvas.” The latest project titled ‘Drinking water running through streets,’ addresses the issue of water fountains in Madrid. “In less than 30 years, over 50% of the public fountains are now dismantled, broken, not potable or dry.”
With more than 200 glass containers donated, Luzinterruptus transformed four unused public fountains in the Madrid’s city center. For a few hours on a cold January night, the beautiful light sculptures illuminated the forgotten fountains. “We wanted to say that water is NECESSARY for life and that the fountains that we use for refreshment are much more necessary and beautiful than things that are merely ornamental.”
People are upset that limited access to these fountains is now forcing them to buy bottled water. I have two points. I think it’s important to realize that while we may not always pay for water, it does have a cost and it is increasingly becoming a hot issue in terms of not having enough, flooding, and contamination. We can’t afford to waste water, and when it’s free people are more inclined to take it for granted. However, I think a city providing drinking fountains is many-times-over more sustainable than buying bottled water. Older cities with the existing infrastructure for water fountains need to take advantage of that resource.
Bundanoon, Australia famously banned bottled waters in favor of more public water fountains and reusable bottles. It is important and it can be done. The larger goals for sustainability can instill ideas, but it’s the actions of detail that create change.