Artist/Author: Ursula Biemann
A particularly interesting site is a hydraulic model of a section of the Nile near Asiut where a new barrage is to be built. The physical model is an exact reproduction of the Nile bed in the size of a giant factory floor. It is used to test the river’s behavior when obstructed by hydraulic architectures. The engineers drop paper scraps from the ceiling down onto the running water and take serial photographs of the operation, which reveal the flow patters of the river so that the structures can be adjusted accordingly. The model embodies the cut between water and mind, between hydraulic force and mathematics. Together they form a hybrid consciousness. The Nile is like an engine with enormous potential natural agency – electric, genetic, chemical, thermal, all of which are an expression of nature’s capacity to impact its environment.