The sculpture uses an anecdote about the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin as a point of departure. On his expedition to the Taklamakan desert in central Asia, Hedin brought with him one year's worth of the newspaper Nya Dagligt Allehanda in order to preserve his morning routine of enjoying a newspaper with his morning tea. These newspapers functioned as a lifeline back to civilization through the preservation of ritual in spite of their lack of usefulness.
However, in the course of the expedition a miscalculation of distance in addition to the lacking knowledge of his guide resulted in an acute water-shortage. At a point, the party was forced to leave all their scientific equipment behind in order to increase their chances of survival. The equipment was marked with a small flag made from one of the newspapers he had brought with him.
Two members of the expedition party perished in this ordeal and the third insisted Hedin should carry on without him. Hedin, now alone, continued in the direction of a supposed river-bed, which he finally found, and was able to save his life. He promply filled his high boots and returned to the party-member that he left behind saving also his life with the water from the river.
Dowsing sticks are a piece of "equipment" - often a bent wooden stick - employed by people who claim to be able to find water and other materials by super-natural means.