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Ripples #13

Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artFlamboyant Brit Fills
Pool with Booze...

Not long ago, Ripples wrote about a swimming pool at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that allegedly was filled with liquid chocolate. Of course, the item in Ripples immediately revealed this to be a non-story, as multiple online reports about the pool turned out to be an elaborate April (2010) Fool's Day joke.

Now Ripples calls your attention to two other pools containing exotic liquids, and this time we're not talking April Fools.

The first pool in question was filled with booze by a member of the British aristocracy, no less. (In the interest of accuracy, "filled" is a bit of hyperbole; apparently, 1,000 liters of alcohol were added to the water.)

According to Telegraph.co.uk, Lord Edward Davenport - described by the Web site as "a flamboyant entrepreneur" - rented a 110-room Georgian mansion with pool in London, where he put on "a series of hedonistic events also including pole dancing lessons and masked parties." There have been allegations that the venue was the scene of high-class orgies as well. At the alcohol-enhanced-pool soiree, attendees apparently were encouraged to row around the pool in small boats.

Davenport was hauled into court by the Westminster City Council over his "alleged 'flagrant' breaches of planning rules at the property." In a separate matter, he also has been charged with swindling celebrity clients out of £12 million. ("One of his alleged victims was Princess Diana's former dress designer, Elizabeth Emanuel," the Telegraph Web site reported.)

Perhaps worst of all, serious doubts have been raised about how genuine Davenport's aristocratic title really is. Some sources refer to him as "the self-styled Lord Davenport."

The colorful story of Lord Edward Davenport is filled with so many fascinating twists and turns, it's way too long and convoluted to relate fully here. Ripples suggests that some Googling is in order; you're guaranteed to find quite a bit of juicy dirt.

...While American Artist Uses Diet Cola

On to the second pool in question. American artist Mike Bouchet has given a whole new meaning to the term Pop art by filling a swimming pool with his own homemade diet cola. Bouchet poured more than 150 gallons of concentrated cola syrup into the pool for a "Flat Cola Pool BBQ" event, held near Twentynine Palms, Calif., during last year's July 4th weekend.

Why flat cola? Attendee Catherine Taft, whose report about the cola pool appeared on artforum.com, explained that "it would have taken a dangerous amount of CO2...to carbonate." And why on the Fourth of July? According to Taft, the artist chose the nation's birthday as "a perfect meditation on Americana, consumption, surplus and pleasure."

One can only speculate what George Washington would have meditated about that.

Photos: To see several images of people frolicking in the cola-filled pool, go to http://tinyurl.com/49sfz8m.

Note: Some Web sites may open behind this page.

Museum-Quality Pool
Makes Splash at L.A.'s MOCA

If the idea of swimming in a pool filled with flat soda leaves you feeling less than effervescent, there's another option for combining your affinity for water with your love of art.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has installed a three-foot-deep swimming pool in one of its galleries, surrounded by neon (the space has been described as "lit like a Virgin America cabin") and accompanied by images projected on the walls. Best of all, visitors to the museum can purchase disposable swimsuits (or bring their own swimwear) and splash around in the rippling art piece, watched over by a strapping lifeguard who is - what else - also "an actor."

As a report on fastcodesign.com put it, "Ah, a day at MOCA. Nothing like perusing the canonical works of...artists who explore themes of light and space as a prelude to lofty discussions about context and culture, art and Art - all while floating half naked in a pool next to pictures of cocaine."

The swimming pool is just one part of a larger show called "Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space," which features installations by five Latin American artists. The pool ("Cosmocoa-Programa") is the work of Brazilians Hél Oiticica (now deceased) and Neville D'Almeida.

In case you're not clear about the artistic merits of the pool, perhaps this explanation from the MOCA press department will help: "The water presents a dynamic surface where the movements of the swimming participants are integrated into the work in a complete reinvention of art as an immersive, sensorial and interactive experience."

Uh-huh. If after that high-falutin' analysis you still want to take a dip at MOCA, you'll have to hurry, since the installation will be there only until February 27. But if you miss the show in L.A., you can also catch it at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in our nation's capital, from June 23 to September 11.

Photos: To see still images of the pool at MOCA, go to http://tinyurl.com/286dv8n.

Video: To watch a video about the various works in the show, go to http://tinyurl.com/4g6428x.

Museum-Quality Fake Pool
Makes Wet-but-Dry Splash

Then there's the pool-themed, wet-but-dry installation (simply titled "The Swimming Pool") by Argentine artist Leandro Erlich, which has been shown at a variety of prestigious art venues. The piece is now on permanent display at the 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanazawa, Japan.

If Ripples correctly understands the description at materialicious.com, each side of the "pool" consists of two huge panes of clear acrylic about one foot apart, with water in the middle, plus another acrylic sheet overhead supporting an additional few inches of water. The result for museum-goers is a realistic approximation of what it would be like to stand inside a water-filled swimming pool - without drowning or chlorinating their street clothes.

Video: To watch a video of people experiencing Leandro Erlich's "The Swimming Pool," go to http://tinyurl.com/2vcdvv3.

Photos: To see still images of the installation, go to http://tinyurl.com/4t3g5xf.

Magic Carp-pet: Pulling the Rug
Out from Under Aquariums?

You may recall the Ripples report about a virtual koi pond at the most recent APEC summit meeting - a video installation that prompted President Obama to jokingly caution Prime Minister Harper of Canada, "Stephen, don't fall in."

Taking ersatz waterfeatures to the next level, a product called the Magic Carp-pet (get it?) has done away with water - either wet or on video - altogether. Now you can have fake fish virtually swimming around on your living-room floor under a special slatted-glass coffee table. One clear advantage: no fish poop.

As helablog.com notes, you'll be able to "freak your guests out next time they come to visit with a simple yet effective optical illusion." Of course, effectiveness is in the eye of the beholder. Far from being freaked out, Ripples doesn't think the purveyors of aquariums - or watershapers, for that matter - need lose any sleep over this.

Video: To learn more and view the Magic Carp-pet in wriggly action, go to http://tinyurl.com/4fqlck6.

Until next time,
happy watershaping to you!

- Ripples is compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

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