What is that thing?


MANTIS: place three gum poles in the ground, ranging from 11 to 13 metres high. To a height of 8 metres, drop a Juvik fog-catching cylinder, scaled up to 800 mm in diameter and 3 metres high. Cap it with a mechanical fan. Below the mesh cylinder drop a slimline water tank, 2 metres high. 8 – 3 – 2 = 3 metres left for a grass playground underneath. Or a garden. Or you could have a beatbox in one. Or a simple tap, or a toilet. Anything.

Beckoner. Protector. Source of light. Mind-mirror. Ancient shapeshifter, still.

Ideally, Mantis is found in various locations around the sprawling Democratic Resettlement Community on the outskirts of Swakopmund, Namibia. This ‘DRC’ is inhabited by diverse people, many of them hard-pressed economic migrants from the North of the country. The township’s exact population is most certainly moot. But it’s increasing all the time. There is industry in and near Swakopmund, including shipping, mining and tourism.

feeding nocturnally on fog, the Mantis harvests water, illuminating its presence as a source of environmental protection (source photograph courtesy of Margaret Courtney-Clarke).

Hail, Atlantis-Mantis, omeya-channel! Connector. Customizable public sculpture – pimp it!

The extractor-fan on top of Mantis pulls more air (or fog) upwards, doubling the amount of water that condenses on the cylindrical mesh and runs into the slimline tank. According to data from monitors of regional fog events – on which much Namibian flora and fauna depends – Mantis can harvest two hundred litres per month, on average. And when the spinning crown is linked to a dynamo, it powers a light.

Shushumna. Totemic num-gatherer. Tree of Life. Psychozoic theriomorph. Funky stick-freak.

A schoolyard can have one, with kids shrieking on the lawn beneath. An orphanage’s kitchen can grow vegetables under another, and herbs on its timber side-panels. At night in the street, it’s a safer spot to stop and chat. That’s what Mantis is, a useful, stimulating, familiar and yet arcane thing in the immediate DRC environment. Overrated? Overstated? Don’t underestimate beacons of light, water and greenery in a ramshackle, sandblasted place.

Shushumna. Totemic gatherer or Tree of Life, the Mantis provides enough fog-harvested water from the Jucik cylinder to feed a small garden nursery (source photograph courtesy of Margaret Courtney-Clarke).

ædi in collaboration with  RainCloud Technologies

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