Water is free

2024 –

"Water is Free” began in Scuol Tarasp, Canton Graubünden, Switzerland during her Artist-in-residence in the Fundazium Nairs. Through her video installation, Hiroi asks whether begging is a human right while access to safe water is recognized as a human right.

Bathing and drinking treatments are among the oldest known healing practices in Switzerland. Taking advantage of the abundant mineral water that flows from the mountains, many public spaces are equipped with numerous fountains where people can drink mineral water for free.

Inspired by the way the hand held out as one drinks water from a fountain resembles the movement of a beggar raising money, Hiroi became interested in the fact that water is free to drink in Switzerland, even though begging is not free. Begging is prohibited in many Swiss cantons, and the law allows for fines of 50 to 100 francs (about $50,000 to $100) for begging. Those convicted of organizing a begging network risk fines of up to 2,000 Swiss francs.

Concept, Research and Development: Kumi Hiroi

Special thanks to Trix Brechbühl, Patrizia Maio, Clifford E. Bruckmann (Fundaziun Nairs), Ursina Trautman (Graubünden Department of Justice, Security and Health),