How Earth Made Us: Water

I'm watching a BBC/National Geographic series on the fundamental elements that have shaped the lives and development of humans over the millenia. The episodes are titled Water, Wind, Fire, Deep Earth and Human Planet.

For me, the one on water particularly resonates right now ideologically, conceptually and visually.

For all the spectacular shots, dramatic music, and dare-devilish exploits by our host in this series, the charming and chronically Scottish Professor Iain Stewart, one of the most compelling moments in this piece comes when he shows us a stone arrow and a stone sickle.

One was a tool invented by those who decided to follow animals as water retreated and desert replaced fertile plain. The other was made by those who decided to stay put near the remaining pools and springs and begin growing things. And there you have it, the beginning of urban life.

All of my earliest work is based on cities. My new conceptual project, Public Art, is a playful conceit based around the art-like effects that happen when we build and maintain roads and sidewalks in an ongoing attempt to keep nature at bay. My latest studio project, with the working title of Ocean, is a metaphor for personal searching, yet somehow all of these ideas - cities, water, oceans, nature, structure and my own inner machinations - are flowing into each other in ways I never planned.

Right now, I'm increasingly interested in the simple fact that all urban life, from the first desert oasis settlement by ancient people to the boulevards of Los Angeles, is based around the availability of water.