In front of a screen displaying a vegetable garden divided into eight plots, there are two handles that enable the driving of the pumps operating the irrigation system. The challenge would seem simple: through handling the pump, players direct the water into each respective plot. However, cultivating the field in a sustainable and efficient fashion may be more complex than simply getting water into the fields. This requires knowledge about the water needs of each plant, measuring the level of humidity in the soil and facets that do not always get taken into consideration when actually getting on with the work in the field.
Challenged to react rapidly to a broad set of factors that pop up and interrupt the visitor’s “agricultural work”, the game ends with information about which products got produced most sustainably and alongside incentives for each person to make the right choices in terms of their usage of water.
This is the challenge that the Gulbenkian Foundation is setting visitors to the exhibition Water, an unfiltered exhibition, which features around three dozen modules and on display in the Pavilion of Knowledge in Lisbon through to September 2022.
Designed according to the findings of the study The Usage of Water in Portugal, backed by the Gulbenkian Foundation, this challenge seeks not only to playfully raise awareness about the ways in which information and technology may assist farmers in undertaking the more sustained management of the existing resources while also drawing attention to what each of us may do as consumers to preserve the scarce resource that is water.