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Mattingly started out making wearable homes for people who wanted a mobile lifestyle. It was during an exhibition of this work that she was prompted to look forward and think bigger. Mattingly says, “I became increasingly worried that government and corporate agencies were largely ignoring problems caused by pollution and climate change. I wanted to respond to the growing instability of cultures and the political unrest arising from inattention to these issues.” Waterpod™ is one answer to these problems. It was initially designed as a personal space, but it quickly evolved into a community event; the input and efforts of multiple people make the project more feasible as a sustainable unit. The ability to change and adapt is central to Mattingly’s concept of the Waterpod™. She “wanted it to be mutable in design, concept, integration, and autonomy,” so that it would have a greater chance of success than previous utopian systems.
Waterpod™ is constructed from recycled or reused materials and runs on its own power sources. These include a wind turbine, solar PV panels, bicycle power and a picohydro system. It also has a space for agriculture and greywater recycling, along with a kitchen, showering facilities and four bedrooms. But Waterpod™ is more than just a living unit that floats around, albeit sustainably, without a care for us landlubbers. The main space is designated for community and artistic activities which include exhibits, lectures and performances. During docking days, the Waterpod™ is open for public tours.
A section from the “Structure” page of Waterpod™’s website sums up its purpose: “Through its dilatory, watery peregrinations, Waterpod™ intends to prepare, inform, inspire, provoke, and fortify humanity for tomorrow’s exterior explorations.” Watery world, here we come!