Artists tend to look at things differently to the rest of us. When Dutch artist Helmut Smits looks at Coca Cola, he sees “dirty brown water,” according to an interview in Dezeen. And so he created a contraption that could distill pure H20 from the ubiquitous soft drink, and somewhat fittingly called it The Real Thing.

Photo: Ronald Smits/ courtesy the artist

The Real Thing was created for a museum exhibition as part of Dutch Design Week, where it is getting visitors to think about a couple of troubling facts. One is that it can take up to nine liters of water to create one liter of Coke; another is that there are parts of the world where it’s easier to obtain the soft drink than clean drinking water. 

Photo: Ronald Smits/ courtesy the artist

Smits told Dezeen that he isn’t planning to start solving global water shortage problems, but hopes the installation prompts people to laugh and to think.

Photo: Ronald Smits/ courtesy the artist

Smits developed the relatively straightforward distiller with the help of University of Amsterdam students. The machine heats up a bottle of Coca Cola in a beaker; as the liquid boils, the rising water vapor is captured. It condenses into a water glass, where minerals are added to ensure its drinkability.

Photo: Ronald Smits/ courtesy the artist

Since basically everyone seems to agree that Americans drink too much sugary soft drinks, here are some other things you can do with Coke that don’t involve ingesting it.

[via Design Taxi]