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Marjetica Potrč: Soweto House with Prepaid Water Meter

Nov. 10, 2012 – Feb. 24, 2013

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Marjetica Potrč, Soweto House with Prepaid Water Meter, 2012, installation view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin/Stockholm. Photo: Trumpie Photography

Marjetica Potrč, Soweto House with Prepaid Water Meter, 2012, installation view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin/Stockholm. Photo: Trumpie Photography

Marjetica Potrč's interdisciplinary practice includes site-specific projects, drawings, and architectural case studies. Her work investigates, documents, and interprets contemporary approaches to urban planning and the distribution of resources such as energy and water. Soweto House with Prepaid Water Meter was inspired by the controversy surrounding the installation of prepaid water meters in the Soweto township of Phiri in Johannesburg in 2006. The residents protested, insisting that water is a human right, not a commodity. In 2008, the Johannesburg High Court declared the prepaid water meters unlawful and ordered the city to supply Phiri residents with fifty liters (approximately thirteen gallons) of water per person per day. The case went through two appeals, and in 2009 the Constitutional Court of South Africa found the installation of the prepaid meters to be lawful. Potrč explains, “the Phiri water case shows us the future that may await other urban communities who as yet do not live under water-stressed conditions. Water is the most precious resource of our century: without water, there is no life.”

Marjetica Potrč: Soweto House with Prepaid Water Meter is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Michael Rush, Founding Director.