Passage of Water by Dr Yiyun Kang

The artist explains her approach and why she created the experiment.

By Google Arts & Culture

Dr Yiyun Kang


Water in crisis

Freshwater is a precious resource but it is being lost, through climate change and human usage. Passage of Water uses the data to address this issue and look at solutions.


Dr Yiyun Kang, Artist

"I am an artist currently working with digital technologies to tell my stories.
I did a PhD at the Royal College of Art and lived in London for 10 years. I've just come back to Korea, to run a lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)."


Human impact on planet Earth

"Through my work, I tackle binary thinking, to embrace overlapping areas; between digital or physical, surface or depth, human or non-human. Since COVID-19 I've been driven more into themes around the Anthropocene, delving into the profound impact of human activity on our planet"

PoW_satellites still image-SWOT

Why did you want to create this experiment?

"I wanted to make a story about the Earth's freshwater,  based on robust data sets. With Google Arts & Culture, I started talking to NASA and learned about their new satellite launched in December 2022. It was amazing!"


“Through data, we can understand how Earth's water patterns have changed and its casual relationship with climate change. Using these robust data sets, we could probably make better plans and policies.”

PoW_GRACE _EXP image

How did you create Passage of Water?

"I used the data from two different satellites.
One is Grace, which has collected 20 years of Earth’s hydrology data sets. Through Grace, we can learn about what actually happened to Earth’s water cycle." 


"SWOT can measure lakes, rivers and reservoirs more precisely than ever before, providing information on available freshwater resources. Through this, I want to talk about how enhanced technology can help us for a sustainable future."

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What do you hope people will take from Passage of Water?

"Scientific data can be daunting, making it challenging to understand. My role is to serve as a translator using the creative power of art.
I would be happy at least that they grasp the critical importance of freshwater as a limited resource that requires collective care."

PoW_Part 4 _EXP image

Now it's your turn.

Try the experiment for yourself. Discover the issues and understand that there is hope if we all do our bit.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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