Blood: Water Pollution

 
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Description

Blood-Water Pollution from the 10 Modern Plagues,  2015. Recycled tin cans
Dimensions: 20" x 20" x 3"               Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

This first of the 10 Modern Plagues is "Blood-Water Pollution and the world crisis to provide clean affordable water."  Our rivers and waterways are polluted with refuse and contaminants. Some pollution has been quite intentional such as was the chemical pollution revealed by consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, but most pollution is unintentional - the result of indifference to the reality of environmental harm.

Close up view of the side (below) reveals lettering with the title. It says: "Blood-water pollution and the world crisis to provide clean affordable water."

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The Idea Behind

Dam (Hebrew) or Blood   is the first plague as described in the Passover Haggadah. In the Bible Moses said the Nile would run red with blood. The Hebrew lettering says "dam" which means blood. This was the first biblical plague from Moses against the Egyptian Pharaoh in his quest to free the Jews as slaves building the pyramids.

The modern plague is "Blood-Water Pollution and the world crisis to provide clean affordable water."  This is the first of 10 artworks about the 10 Modern Plagues that I will take 5-10 years to complete. I think it is an appropriate metaphor to use recycled tin cans to construct this Judaica. The tins are removed from the waste stream of our society.  It represents the over abundance of materials that we throw away each day without even thinking about the impact on our environment.   

Blood in Hebrew

Working in the studio on Blood - Water Pollution: 

"Blood-Water Pollution and the world crisis to provide clean affordable water"  is constructed from layers and layers of tin cans cut to look like water. The layers of tin cans fit inside the 3" depth of the letter as if it were a container of water.  It was very tedious and slow construction. Each piece had to be cut out and fit to the inside of the letter without concealing the layers of tin beneath it. Small tabs were inserted into slots on the side of the Hebrew letter to hold each individual piece in place.

Harriete Estel Berman uses recycled tin cans to construct her Judaica

Harriete Estel Berman uses recycled tin cans to construct her Judaica

Harriete Estel Berman adding a layer of red tin can to the Blood Water pollution.
Plague 1 Blood Hebrew lettering construction

Studio Assistant, Margot Plageman working on the final details within the letter (below.)  You can see the tabs on the outside of the letter. 

The assembly method for this piece is based on what I learned in Grass/'gras. 

The assembly method for this piece is based on what I learned in Grass/'gras. 

Each piece needs to fit exactly perfectly. 

Each piece needs to fit exactly perfectly. 

The tabs need to fit exactly to the length and placement of the slots.

The tabs need to fit exactly to the length and placement of the slots.

Fitting each piece, one layers one at a time.This tab and slot method had to be done one at a time, custom for each piece, a perfect fit every time. 

Fitting each piece, one layers one at a time.This tab and slot method had to be done one at a time, custom for each piece, a perfect fit every time. 

It is important not to flex the side or the previous perfect fit will not fit any longer.  Each piece of metal takes hours.

It is important not to flex the side or the previous perfect fit will not fit any longer.  Each piece of metal takes hours.

 A fraction of an inch does not squeeze in with metal, precision is the only answer. 

 A fraction of an inch does not squeeze in with metal, precision is the only answer. 

Eventually the outside of the letter was covered up with red tin to conceal the assembly method. The lettering on the outside of the letter was cut from recycled tin cans and riveted on.