Plumbum (Flint Water Crisis)

Mark Bleshenski's avatar Mark Bleshenski

Thank you to everyone who voted for Plumbum, putting it on the top 25 list for installations for ArtPrize 8. Plumbum is the Latin word for lead because it was used in plumbing in ancient times. The elemental symbol for lead, Pb, is based on that word. The City of Flints problems have been in the news for years, culminating recently in the tragic water crisis caused by a failure of government to protect it's citizens. All of us can sympathize with the horror of toxic water unknowingly entering our home and poisoning our families. Plumbum is a collection of over 225 water filled bottles and jars contorted to represent the effects of the toxicity of the lead. They are labeled with the actual results of tap water testing that was done on 300 homes in Flint as reported on FlintWaterStudy.org in September 2015. While the subject is the water, the piece is about the truth. They sit on shelves that lean as if they are ready to fall over. Though it does not actually move, the piece has a visual kinetic property because all the bottles act as lenses, refracting light and causing motion inside them as one passes the work.

Entry Details
  • Art form: Installation
  • Depth: 8'
  • Medium: Flame/kiln worked glass bottles, water, wood
  • Width: 5'
  • Year created: 2016
  • Height: 10'