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Wetness Is Everywhere:
Why Do We See Water Somewhere?
Anuradha Mathur, Dilip da Cunha
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There is a general acceptance that we inhabit a planetary surface divided into a part that is drained and another part by which it is drained. This surface features in maps, histories, habitat studies, politics, policies, and design. Maps label the two parts “land” and “water.” This water, however, is appreciated on the terms of land, ever-ready to give up its place for the land beneath it to be “reclaimed,” ever-ready to provide land with moisture, a waste disposal route, transportation, energy, and popularly today, waterfronts for real estate development and consumption. If this water is polluted, exploited, and endangered, it is not just because it is violated; it is because water is set up to be dominated by land. And if this water threatens land with rising seas, melting glaciers, increasing floods, and scarcity, it is as an “other” that has been placed across a line that we subject to artistic representations, scientific inquiry, infrastructural engineering, and landscape design with little attention to the act of separation and the geographic imagination that drew it into being.

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