Ghostly white bands of light are illuminating the coastline in the Outer Hebrides to show the potential rise in sea levels that could become reality as a result of unchecked climate change. The collaborative and site-specific art piece, named Lines (57° 59 ́N, 7° 16 ́W), is the work of Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho. The environmental art installation is embedded with sensors that measure the rising tidal changes and activate three synchronized light lines during times of high tide.
Hoping to draw attention to and spark a dialogue about climate change, artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho wanted to render visible the predicted impacts of rising sea levels in an area they believe will be among the hardest hit. Consequently, the artists chose the Uist, a low-lying island archipelago belonging to the Outer Hebrides island chain located off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The artwork has been installed at the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in Lochmaddy, the main port of entry to North Uist, which the artists said “cannot develop on its existing site due to predicted storm surge sea levels.”
Lines (57° 59 ́N, 7° 16 ́W) consists of bright white LED lights, float switches/sensors and timers. Two light lines wrap around the sides of a pair of gabled buildings while the third light line appears to hover above an empty field. The three lines light up in sync with the rising tide.
“The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long term effects,” the artists said in their project statement. “The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future. The work helps us to imagine the future sea level rise in undefined period of time, depending on our actions toward the climate warming.” Installed May 8, 2018, Lines will run until May 1, 2019.
Images via Pekka Niittyvirta