2016 - present

In the first chapter of Prometheus Rising, author Robert Anton Wilson proposes an exercise: visualize yourself finding a quarter on the ground outside during the regular course of your day, and then note how long it takes you to find an actual quarter on the ground. In doing so the reader is invited to acknowledge and then attenuate their reality-tunnel, to become aware of the quality of their own awareness by selecting for a specific yet commonplace item and in so doing calling said item into their life.

Mercy, ongoing as of 2016, adapts this exercise to select for the water bottle. During the regular course of one's day, the gutters, sidewalks and lawns of the city are scanned for discarded plastic water bottles. The bottle must be intact and functional, with the lid included. The bottle is collected, stripped, washed, refilled, and returned to the street. Rather than returning as litter, the vessel is placed thoughtfully, inviting the eye of passerby, and safe to drink if one is in desperate need.

Clean water is thus returned to the public dimension. What was designed as a single-use vessel is given a second life. The more one begins scanning for the empty bottles, the more seem to appear, day after day. The reality-tunnel is tuned to the object's particular frequency and the object thus appears at every turn, bountiful. The ritual of collecting, cleaning, refilling, and giving back brings one into dialogue with disposable culture, plastic waste, recycling, outreach, and mercy.