Series of artworks on pharmaceutical pollution in water
Resulting from a 1 year long research residency produced by LUCA School of Arts and GLUON, Brussels. 

Exhibited in Bozar Museum, Brussels
October 20-December 4, 2022

Water mediates and sustains all life. As a solvent, it passes between our bodies, the air, waterways, manufacturing processes, and treatment plants as a fluid continuum.

The artworks presented address the complex issue of pharmaceutical pollution. Pharmaceuticals are essential for maintaining, improving, and prolonging our lives. In the adjacent bathroom Ahmed’s poster “Your Urine” presents the fact that 90 percent of pharmaceutical pollution is introduced through human urine and that of the animals we raise to consume.

Through Ahmed’s “A Fountain of Eternal Youth” courses water infused with pharmacological and wholistic anti-aging medication. It evokes ancient mythology to understand our contemporary drive to defy aging caused by oxidation.The  mirrored surface of the water evokes the myth of Narcissus to reconsider the valuation of our bodies over bodies of water and the life it contains.

The flow of water has long been used to describe the flow of time. The mirror’s surface is disrupted by the regular emptying water clocks, based on the Japanese shishi-odoshi, which mark the passage of time. However, the water drops that fill them appear to be suspended in the air. This contradiction in cause-and-effect is analogous to the lifesaving necessity of pharmaceuticals and the imbalances they create in the natural environment.

“The Fountain of the Amazons” presents the perennial utopian idea of a world without men, governed by matriarchy as a practical possibility. Contraceptives have allowed for unprecedented freedom for women. These endocrine disruptors trigger bodies to produce high levels of estrogen and progesterone preventing ovulation. When they leave the body through urine they continue to work causing significant increases in female fish populations and possibly effecting human populations when ingested through drinking water.

This fountain’s water is infused with contraceptives and depicts a vision of a resulting utopian exclusively female world especially in light of the popular discourse on “toxic masculinity.” The scale of the fountain evokes architectural models used to construction of desired futures. It features traits from early christian reliquaries depicting spaces of heavenly bliss.

Pharmaceuticals proliferate to treat ever more human ailments, improving our quality and length of life. The complexity of pharmaceuticals make them difficult to remove in water treatment plants designed for general purification. These pharmaceuticals continue to work on all other life they encounter in the closed-loop of our Earthly waters creating alternate unintended realities.

With the support of and in collaboration with Micheline Verhaeghe of Pollet Water Group, Steven De Laet of Inopsys, Dirk Halet of VLAKWA, Inge Genné & Johan Ceulemans of VITO, David Gering of,  Dries Laperre of Surplace, Justine Sauvage & Korneel Rabaey of Capture-UGhent, Jan Huygh of Atelier Vilvoorde and Piero Bisello

Photos: Johan Poezevara & Fabien Silvestre Suzorat

A Fountain of Eternal Youth

Materials: Materials: Human growth hormone (Sytropin and Genf20), ginkgo biloba, water, aluminum, ox gall, 3D prints, electronics, custom software, sound composition,  and polycarbonate 

Dimensions: 240 cm height x 250 cm width x  82 cm depth


A Fountain of the Amazons

Materials: Loestrin contraceptive pills, EllaOne emergency contraceptive pills, Water, 3D model of Fountain of Amazons based on "The Fountain of Youth” fresco, Château de la Manta, Saluzzo, Italie, 1411-1416 (artist unknown), medical model of vagina for instruction of diaphragm, Helen contraceptive pill package,  1970’s candles from Club 69 , plexiglass, wood, and aluminum

Dimensions:  280 cm wide x 200 cm height x 70 cm depth. 


Your Urine

Materials: Three A3 inkjet prints and frames used in public toilet advertisements