Jackie Brookner makes “Biosculptures”.
She describes these as ‘living sculptures…plant based systems that clean polluted water, integrating ecological revitalization with the conceptual, metaphorical and aesthetic capacities of sculpture.”
One such project is called “The Gift of Water”. The town of Grossenhain, near Dresden in Germany, built a new public swimming complex in which the water used is filtered entirely by wetland plants without the use of chlorine or any other chemical. Brookner’s sculpture features various mosses on a pair of large cupped hands. The mosses purify the water of the fountain thereby reproducing the whole technical concept of the swimming complex installation while the sculpture itself represents the precious nature of the water that we use.
Some of her sculptures are more directly functional.
The Roosevelt Community Center in San Jose is a LEED gold certified building and re-cycles storm water runoff from the roof. Two of Brookner’s installations do this filtering. In one of them (below) water is channeled into a basin-like sculpture that aerates the water as it drops into the basin below where it is filtered and re-cycled.
Her second installation in the same site brings to the surface a process that usually happens underground. An amber glass and stainless steel rock filter system mimics the water filtration that happens naturally in the nearby Coyote Creek watershed. A map of the creek is etched on to the sculpture.
Jackie Brookner’s work brings to life natural processes that are important to the sustainability of our environment. Her sculptures no doubt manage to engage viewers in a way that no amount of detailed technical explanation of these processes ever could.