Portfolio > Alchemy

Ruhleben Aeration Ponds
Large Particle Screen Rake
Influent Fountain
Painted on a mesh filter panel, used for fine particle filtration in wastewater treatment
Acrylic on mesh filter

Developed during Mikhail Haramati's three month artist residency at SomoS Berlin, Alchemy presents a series of realist paintings that examine the city’s wastewater treatment plants to render visible a major unseen process that facilitates modern life.

In the age of the anthropocene, how and to what extent humans are able to minimize our impact on the land will become increasingly important. Knowledge of biological processes, especially those such as sewage treatment, that use bacteria and physical processes to remove harmful elements from the water, is key to the discussion of how to create a sustainable human existence on the plant.

As regions across the world struggle to find sustainable sources of new freshwater, tertiary treated wastewater (the clean product water produced by treatment plants) will play an increasingly important role. Highly filtered and with the harmful bacteria removed, tertiary treated water is one step away from being drinkable. By using this water for landscaping, industrial cleaning, and other situations where drinking water is not needed, use of tertiary treated water can free up additional drinking water supply.

Alchemy is intended to stimulate an interdisciplinary discussion between art and environmental policy.