Systems & Subversions IDEA Cabaret: Pharma-Water

Friday, September 13, 4:30 PM, IDEA Space


Jon Cohrs, Alviso's Medicinal Salt Project
Jon Cohrs, Alviso’s Medicinal Salt Project

Featured artist Jon Cohrs and Marion Hourdequin, Associate Professor of Philosophy, consider the practices and ethics of industrial pollution and reclamation efforts.


Darkly humorous and provocative, Jon Cohrs’ Alviso’s Medicinal All-Salt project simultaneously examines wastewater treatment systems and the consumer demand cycle created by the pharmaceutical industry. Most of the reclaimed water in the United States contains pharmaceutical residues from humans and livestock. Working in collaboration with Morgan Levy, a water researcher from UC Berkeley, Cohrs distills water samples and bottles the residual chemicals to create a perfect aggregate of what America is taking to heal itself. Presented through “advertisements” that evoke modern drug ads as well as 19th century “snake oil” miracle remedies, the project presents a satiric examination of the medical industrial complex, consumer behaviors, and wastewater treatment methodologies.

Jon Cohrs is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Often employing humor and absurdity, his work uses public engagement and site-specific interventions to address global issues.