Travels in Chile — Part 1 of 4
David Walker, the director of the Museum, and I flew to Santiago, Chile a couple of weeks ago to work on an upcoming CA+E exhibition, The Fog Garden.
The structures of the ironically titled “garden,” are being developed by architect Rodrigio Perez de Arce and his students at the Catholic University of Santiago. They are based on field в studies in the Atacama Desert, where scientists have been conducting research on fog collection in the world’s driest desert since the 1950s. The structures are designed to wring moisture out of clouds as a source of potable water.
The research site is Alto Patache, a steep and dramatic ridge that rises 2600 feet above the narrow coastal flats below. The only source of moisture in the region is the fog that rolls in nightly from the Pacific Ocean, and centuries ago native people walked up from the shore to collect water dripping down the uppermost cliffs. Today, Rodrigo and his students are designing sculptural forms that will both irrigate small gardens at the site, and collect enough water for piping to other locations.
Working on The Fog Garden was just the beginning of a series of extraordinary encounters with art and architecture in what is one of the most prosperous nations in South America