Daniel Seiple – Fontäne

Landreform exhibition series, November 2008 - March 2009

Daniel Seiple set out to dig a well, find water, and make a waterfall on one of the park’s vacant lots. Down four meters in a narrow shaft, after cutting and digging through dirt, rebar and chunks of concrete, Seiple found himself trapped in someone’s former basement, impeded by a solid concrete floor. By good fortune, he discovered an abandoned well in a grove a trees just a few meters away. In Fontäne, a story of a waterfall unfolds through trial and error. What was once intended to be a well, a narrow wooden shaft looking into the ground, becomes a depository. Water is pumped from the abandoned well to the top of the park’s second highest point, a monumental mound of prewar building ruins, where it cascades as a waterfall into 3 interconnected pools. The water rises until it crests as one stream leading to the artist’s stymied attempt. While picturesque, the intentions of Fontäne are interwoven with the complexities and history of the site. The precise point of the waterfall marks the boundary between two adjacent properties. The small stream of water loosely follows this line before returning to the ground. In making a natural water phenomena, Seiple mimics a common strategy used to increase land and property value. However, the artist’s unauthorized digging and pirating of another well’s water contradict this benevolence and asks that age old question: who owns the water.