Julie Louise Bacon | European Capital of Culture 2018

European Capital of Culture 2018

  • 27 Sep

  • gd_support

Embassy for Water, a year of water-themed arts residencies

Water is the leading sustainability issue of our time – and of the future. Lwd2018 is using two unique initiatives: an international artists-in-residence programme and a large-scale public art work to highlight the concept. This is particularly fitting for a region where the water management plan started in the tenth century.


Embassy Artists-in-Residence

Embassy for Water is a conceptual art project initiated by curator, artist and writer Julie Louise Bacon and artist James Geurts . Artists are offered residency space in Leeuwarden-Ljouwert and are encouraged to form a dialogue with fellow artists, scientists and ecologists to create work across six different water themes that tell the story of water: still water, running water, sea water, water in the air, water beings and water sublimation, culminating in an exhibition of the interrelated artworks.


Water Atlas

This social sculpture explores the interconnected waterways of Fryslân. 100 solar-powered movement sensors are set up under bridges throughout the region. When activated, the sensors produce a slowly pulsing blue light and a harmonic frequency around the bridge. These also appear online in a real-time visualisation and sound map.  The project culminates in the Lwd2018 closing event Relight.



Julie Louise Bacon (GB/CA), James Geurts (GB/AU).


EEA (European Environment Agency) (DK), Ecology Global Network, Vitens Evides International, Nederlands

Water Museum, Aqua for All, Wetsus, GEAR Architects Cooperative, Keunstwurk


Finnbogi Pétursson (IS), Edwin Deen,Taegon Kim (DE), Craig Walsh (AU), Ronald Boer, Hans De Man (BE),

Bouke Groen, James Geurts (GB/AU), Enrique Tomas (SP/AUS), Hoite Pruiksma, Richard Horden (Horden Cherry

Lee architects) (GB), Eduard Francois (FR), Snohetta (NO) Tham & Videgard arkitekter


Supporting events               

At the WaterSciencePark, visitors will learn exactly what water technology can do. All the newest innovations in the field – many of them hidden until now in labs and research centres – will be displayed and explained, some becoming permanent installations. The WaterSciencePark is designed by GEAR Architects in close col- laboration with scientists and artists and is situated next to the new high tech Wetsus Water Technology Research Centre, on the banks of the Potmarge river.

Other locations all around waterways in the City can be navi- gated by bicycle, canoe or solar boat and a downloadable app provides an explanation of the technologies at work– innovations such as desalination and algae techniques, rain mills (creating drinking water from air) or creating energy from waste water. An international exchange programme for universities and schools will pass the knowledge on to the next generation.

Finally, the WaterScienceHouse on the Move is a water exhibi- tion for kids (and their parents) that travels to ten cities in Europe explaining water science in an easy-to-understand and fun way through interac- tive games designed in one of the Lwd2018 fablabs. Young people from all over the world studying water technology ac- company the route through Europe and collaborate – virtu-ally and in person – with stu- dents in the ten cities.architects, John Körmeling

Leeuwarden-Ljouwert aims to become the Capital of Water Technology in 2020: the world-leading research centre for innovation on sustainable water energy and for solutions related to drinking water, waste water purification and water distribution.

Lwd2018 will help WaterCampus Leeuwarden, a hub in the worldwide network of water technology, and the Wetsus centre of excellence for sustainable water technology to realise this dream.