Though science is a go-to discipline for facts and figures, sometimes art is required to really drive a point home in tangible terms. Lines (57° 59´N, 7° 16´W), an outdoor installation in coastal Lochmaddy, Scotland by artists Timo Aho and Pekka Niittyvirta, uses sensors to detect high tide, which then activates three synchronized light lines illuminating the projected high tide of the future if climate change progresses at its current pace.
“The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long term effects,” the artists said in a statement provided to Hyperallergic. “The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future.”
Though rising sea levels are a condition that threatens to affect human society in many ways and locations, it is particularly relevant to low-lying islands, such as the archipelago of Uist in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, where the installation is located. The Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in Lochmaddy, which hosts the work, can no longer develop on its existing site due to predicted storm surge sea levels, and its clear that the facility will be mostly submerged by the rising tide in the coming years, unless society collectively finds a way to reduce the environmental impact of human existence on the planet.
“During our research we went through various articles and papers on the topic of the global warming and sea level rise,” Aho and Niittyvirta wrote in an email to Hyperallergic. “IPCC being the most relevant perhaps. Since projections varies between the studies, there are not exact height or time we are referring to. The artwork visualizes the possible highest storm surge levels combined with the high tide (hence the interactivity with the high tide), in not so distant future.”