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untitled (condensation bottle)

open series
2018 – present
Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter

Installation view at the Jan van Eyck Academie (2018).

Blown 3-gallon PET waterbottle, hose clamps, water (collected from a tap at the site of exhibition)

Beginning in 2018, Benedict, with the assistance of Rueter, reverse-engineered the industrial process of blow-molding PET water bottles as part of a sculptural works addressing the complex infrastructure politics of collecting, storing, and managing water Benedict produced for ︎︎︎Unthought Environments, an exhibition curated by Karsten Lund for the Renissance Society at the University of Chicago.

Ordering preforms from China, the artists use a custom built collar and oven to heat the molded plastic forms to their ideal blowing temperature. Instead of inflating the plastic into steel molds, the “bottles” are forcefully injected with 120 psi of air pressure and then manipulated by the artists, allowing for variation and irregularities that render the object strangely hybrid: at once specific bodies and mass-produced vessels.

After the bottles are molded, they are fillled with water collected from the exhibition site. The water is introduced into the bottle in such a way as to initiate a continuous condensation loop, reminiscent of Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube series from the 1960s.