Original writing: For Every Light, A Shadow

For Pli 03 - Conflit, I wrote an original essay entitled For Every Light, A Shadow. The piece is an exploration of the conflict inherent in dam architecture. Here is an excerpt from the abstract. Purchase Pli 03 to read the entire piece as well as the 18 other original works by various authors.

Perfectly pliable yet all powerful. Water is inherently paradoxical to the human experience. Our survival depends on a substance as deadly in its overabundance as in its deficiency. Coexisting with the elements is fundamental, but on what terms? In a world of action and counteraction, water is symbolic of a looming threat. When confronted with a force as pervasive as water, conflict emerges from paradox.

Analyzing water conflict begins with understanding the term. Often employed in stories relating violence or power struggle, conflict, when stripped down to its simplest meaning, is a value-based disagreement. On society’s best day, conflict leads to dialogue and exposes how things can be done better. Ignoring conflict, on the other hand, can worsen bad situations. However, does the term still apply when faced with an element of nature that lacks free will? In respect to water control, humanity has marched toward development while leaving behind a trail of conflict and discord.

Water control conflicts come from a desire to be more human. In today’s terms, this means having more options, more connections, and more power. “More” is our agenda, and any opposition becomes a source of contention. “More” transforms natural resources into housing, food, and fuel. Progress happens, technology evolves alongside our numbers and needs. Many early communities were established along the banks of rivers to divert their flows into water wheels, harnessing the brute energy to run machinery. Hydropower represented a historical development that allowed for the establishment of large scale industry and infrastructure.

 Book available for purchase in French/English here.