Divining Rod, 2003

Divining Rod, 2003
Acrylic, thermo-hygrometer, Umbellularia californica, wood putty

6" x 21" x 41"



Ancient technologies often involved natural, or perceived, forces that were little understood. Modern technologies are ever grappling with a limited understanding of physical properties and forces. Where a society has need for a solution, it often turns to the supernatural when it can not find it in the natural world. Indeed forces are generally perceived as supernatural prior to being scientifically defined (and often many refuse scientific explanation in favor of holding on to supernatural definitions).


Dowsing is a form of metal, water, or guilt detection that has roots traceable to nearly every continent. The stereotypical Western form of the divining rod is the forked stick, which is used by a “sensitive” operator to find underground water sources. Individuals and governments practice this method even today.


By combining the traditional device and modern electronic hygrometry, here is constructed a divining rod that embodies both supernatural and equivalent scientific technologies.