June 9, 2023


A new exhibit has flooded THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener. Surface Tension: The Future of Water made its Canadian premiere highlighting the growing problem of water scarcity around the globe. The exhibit is named Surface Tension because the future of the planet’s water supply is a subject that causes tension.

“One of the most awesome things about this exhibit is definitely the ideas that it’s bringing,” said Lindsey Kieman, a volunteer at THEMUSEUM. “I think because we live in a place where water is so prevalent and we have it we kind of forget that there are a lot of places that don’t and it is a very valuable resource. So I think it’s very important that exhibits like this exist so we can really start to really think about what we are going to do with the future of our water.”

Surface Tension was created in Dublin, Ireland and journeyed to New York City before making its stop in Canada. It is an exhibit that uses exhibitions, public experiments, challenges and workshops with the hope to ignite new ideas and stir up debates about water scarcity. Exploring water from the point of view of artists, designers, engineers and scientists, Surface Tension looks at the future of water and its role in everyday living, economic systems and politics. There are many innovative ideas presented in ways water can be harnessed, cleaned and distributed in efforts to solve the future water crisis.

“This will be a fun and enlightening exhibition especially as this is the United Nation’s International Year of Water Cooperation,” said David Marskell, the CEO of THEMUSEUM on THEMUSEUM’s website.  “Along with the important questions the exhibition brings to light, it will be incredibly fascinating to explore the creations that have been made with conservation of energy and water in mind.”

An example of new and innovative technology seen in the Surface Tension exhibit is Protei 002. A large yellow sailboat dangles in the middle of the room with a snaking white boom hovering behind it.

This model shows the prototype for a fleet of low-cost, DIY, remote-controlled oil collecting sailboats. Oil spills have billions of dollars leaked into them but they remain incredibly difficult to contain. The Protei 002 sailboats drag a sorbent boom behind them which absorbs the oil off the top of the water. The boat can catch winds from both sides and can therefore sail upwind and catch oil sheens as they travel downwind. They are remote controlled which keeps humans away from toxins, can travel long distances, work continuously during the night or day and can operate in hurricane conditions. The technology for Protei 002 is an open source, meaning any individual can tailor the design and collaborate on its development.

You can explore the future of water up until January 5, 2014. The Surface Tension exhibit is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays at THEMUSEUM, 10 King St. W. in downtown Kitchener. For more information go to www.themuseum.ca.