Drylab 2023 is a Science-Art project of Arizona State University. From May 13 until June 10, 2017 eight Arizona State University students, pursuing a mixture of art and sustainability degrees, enacted a very near future in a remote location in the Mojave Desert. During our project the participants were permitted 4 gallons of water per person per day and eat a water-wise diet (no meat, no dairy, only fruits/vegetables and grains that grow with moderate water in the desert southwest). Within this context of resource scarcity the participants could self-organize how they would govern their limited resources. The project was inspired by the work of Elinor “Lin” Ostrom ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elinor_Ostrom), “a Californian girl” who started her academic work by studying groundwater governance in California and won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 2009 for her work on governance of common resources. Ostrom’s work show that it is possible for groups to avoid the tragedy of the commons; the overuse of shared resources.
This art-science project created a situation where eight individuals had to share limited resources and had to cooperate to cope with these resource constraints. The participants achieved these goals since they used only about 3 gallons of water a day. Participants initiated additional goals: addressing their collective and individual privilege/responsibility related to water use; and a desire to exist alongside one another in harmony and foster an environment where the usual patterns of domination and coercion are not reproduced.
DRYLAB2023 participants: Krista Davis (Jack in the Desert), Shalae Flores (Nadira Sharu), Willa Gibbs (Saf), Molly Koehn (Moso), Val Lyons (BCC:), Cydnei Mallory (Skip), Sydney Rood (Kirsten), and Sarra Tekola (Nayara)