As we recognize the necessity of creating more sustainable and humane cities, Jackie Brookner’s most recent work, Urban Rain, points the way. How do we learn to not just see what we have chosen to ignore and consigned to waste, but to actually celebrate and utilize it? As Patricia Phillips says in her informative essay, “The artist uses stormwater as both a raw material to exploit and the problem to solve producing a fascinating feedback loop of aesthetic decisions and ecological imperatives.”
Commissioned by the City of San Jose, California to work at Roosevelt Community Center, a new LEED gold building, Brookner created two installations that collect and filter rainwater shed from the roof of the building. Beyond their elegant functionality, these works provoke questions about where the body begins and ends, about our human dependence on natural systems, and about what the being of human can mean today. This publication documents Brookner’s process from concept drawings through installation and includes provocative essays by noted art critic Patricia Phillips and hydrologist Franco Montalto.