Water, Fat, Lye

Hamutal Hayun, Shona Hunt, Elise de Jong

This project challenges the notion of personal care as individual and reframes it as an act of collective care. The practices that promise cleanliness and well-being paradoxically muddy the waters we rely on. In the name of purification and personal care, we unintentionally introduce harmful substances into our shared being.

Bottles and tubes promise to cleanse, rejuvenate, revitalise. Unpronounceable names and strings of As, Bs, and Cs mask the nature of the many personal care products that contain hormone disruptors and carcinogenic ingredients. An intricate network of pipes carries our wastewater from showers to towns, from cities to shared wastewater treatment plans, and, eventually, to the surface of the waters we collectively rely on.

Once the residues our personal care products leave behind mingle with water, they become part of a larger narrative. Through a hydro-feminist lens, we understand how our collective choices shape the environment we inhabit and become our collective body. This film visualises the blurry boundaries between the individual and the collective.

The bathroom, traditionally associated with personal care, becomes a site for individual and collective impact. However, it’s not an individual's actions but the collective accumulation of our daily routines that burdens our ecological body. Each time we wash our skin, our actions extend beyond the confines of the bathroom and seep into the broader landscape.