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Thoughts behind the work with flow.


Invisible forces, evident within the workings of nature are increasingly the subject of serious research. We hardly need remind ourselves that energies with which we work today are becoming increasingly powerful in the affects upon our natural resources. Inevitably it is upon an harmonious and balanced nature that we rely for our well-being. Many of these influences are invisible and unless we remain quite awake we tend to discredit or ignore their effect, but we do this at our peril. Magnetism, electricity, electromagnetism, microwaves, radio activity, heat, pressure, toxicity all play a part. For a long time to come they are for obvious reasons not going to diminish or disappear but rather increase in intensification.

It is equally obvious that, albeit much more subtle, there are energies active within and around everything which is living. We also know today that these are often related in most delicate ways to the energies already mentioned above. It is therefore clear to any unbiased intelligent person that interrelating influences must be considered, that will bring about imbalances in processes which by their very nature are much more vulnerable.

Water is a mediator of these energies, both delicate and powerful which, streaming through the organism, make life possible or untenable. Such fluid processes are supported by tile influence of rhythms, the understanding and manifold implementation of which forms the basis of our Flow Design Research.

Water’s central function of maintaining this symbiotic relationship of environment and organism through millennia, is fast deteriorating due to unrelenting technological usage. Continuation of this trend may well have increasingly serious consequences for life on the Earth.

Through an enhancement of our natural-scientific and intuitive understanding of water there is potential for creative, positive and hopefully healing intervention.

The Flowform Method as one such attempt has evolved through searching for an understanding of the nature of water itself It is based on the question; would it be possible to create an organ for water which would enable it to manifest its potential to order and metamorphosis as exhibited in the so-called path-of-vortices phenomenon (generated behind an object drawn through still water) thus anticipating capacities in water, fundamental to the building of any organism ? Relationship and metamorphosis belong to the very foundations of nature. The Method depends upon detailed observation of the way in which resistance of the right order in a given situation can generate rhythms in streaming water.

Its discovery by John Wilkes in 1970 while involved in research at the Stromungswissenschaften, (Flow Research) Herrischried, Germany, led to further developments during subsequent years at Emerson College, Sussex.

Today with thirty years experience, the Flow Design Research Group seeks further collaboration and resources in conjunction with scientific disciplines through which essential research can be intensified.

Almost continuous involvement with projects of many different kinds in England, abroad, starting 1973 in Jarna, Sweden, and in collaboration with Associates worldwide in some twenty-five countries has led to roughly one thousand installations in over thirty countries which have themselves often facilitated design and scientific research. Over one-hundred Flowform designs have been used of which a number are in regular production. Areas of activity include aesthetic, for public, educational arid private installations; functional, connected with biological purification, farming, food processing, interior air-conditioning, therapeutic, only to name a few.

Increasingly the work is concerned with water quality improvement and enhancement of its life-supporting capacities. This involves essentially the optimization of effects which have been indicated by many research results. The main thrust of investigation has to address questions regarding ; organism in relation to rhythm surface which is always intimately connected with water movement (either empirical or mathematical), materials, time (planetary effects), duration and place.

As mediator water behaves as an information carrier and this is related to its capacity when in movement to generate a multitude of surfaces within itself. These surfaces are indeed organs by means of which events and conditions within the total environment are mediated to the individual organism. Such an embedding of the organism within its rhythmical environment is essential to its continued existence. Movement, especially rhythmic vortical movement, sensitizes water to this task.

The natural water-cycle has maintained water’s quality of function over millennia. This is no longer possible due to excessive pollution of the many kinds mentioned above such as, pressure, heat, substance, electromagnetism and radio activity. This excess inhibits nature’s healing and regenerating function.

One of the most important tasks today is certainly to reduce pollution for the sake of maintaining the rhythms of life. However if this were achieved tomorrow, major tasks would remain.
Far more intensive methods must be developed to regenerate and maintain water as a healing element, water which is the basis for all fluid rhythmical life-sustaining processes, needs to become a healing medicament. All life forms exist indeed by virtue of the rhythms and surfaces mediated by water.

Optimization research has to do with learning to work with such rhythms, the vortex, surface and substance in relationship with the living organism. The Flowform Method is a useful vehicle by means of which this might well be more intensively cultivated. The integration of design and function in this realm has infinite potential to counter inappropriate influences and the Institute, when we have adequate facilities dedicated to this task could make far reaching contributions.

The maintenance and creation of water features of all kinds in our environment is of vital importance. Even though water supplies are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, public consciousness regarding water’s value and preciousness is in need of a boost. It is especially important to develop water features which are designed in water’s own terms, that is in terms of flowing pulsing movements over intimately caressed surfaces. This in itself should make us more aware of this element’s extraordinary qualities in the forming and upholding of our environment. As we enhance our understanding so do we learn to value it in new ways and take greater responsibility for its use in everyday life.


© A.John Wilkes, re-edited January 2000 Flow Design Research Institute Emerson College RH18 5JX UK

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