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watermarks febrero 3, 2011

Posted by christian saucedo in Large scale projections.
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Tipo. Proyección a gran escala – interactiva

Autor de la pieza. Chris Bodle

Edificio. Explore-at-Bristol, Millennium Square // Arnolfini, Narrow Quay // Metcalfes, Queen Square // St Stephens Church, St Stephens Street & Royal and Sun Alliance building, St Augustine’s Parade

Ciudad. Bristol

País. Reino Unido

Año. 2009

Web. http://watermarksproject.org/project.html

Imágenes. http://watermarksproject.org/images.html

Video.

Vía. http://watermarksproject.org/

Descripción



Description

Sea levels are rising due to climate change… but how much could they rise and how quickly? And how could this affect the world’s coastal cities.

Watermarks is an ongoing public art project that explores these questions. Between 6th and 12th February 2009 a series of large-scale projections were displayed at sites across the centre of Bristol (UK). In Bristol, flood level marks were projected on to the sides of buildings, showing how high water levels could potentially rise as the sea inundates the central, low lying areas of the city. By displaying these levels in real space, the project aimed to help the audience imagine the depth and extent of this potential future flooding – allowing us to measure the possible future water levels against ourselves in familiar environments.

The Bristol projections, funded by Arts Council, England, were the first phase of Watermarks – further phases will extend the project to other cities in the UK and globally. The complexity and inherent uncertainty involved in predicting sea level rise means there is little consensus across the global scientific community as to how much sea levels could rise in the coming decades. The Watermarks project (Bristol) used current UK government predictions for the next century to set the key flood mark levels.

The project, however, also acknowledged uncertainty by exploring other, more extreme scenarios. Future phases of the project will use the latest sea level prediction data as it emerges – displaying a wide range of potential scenarios from across the scientific community. This project aims to act as a catalyst for debate and engagement. The future of our cities and landscapes and our responses to rising sea levels should not just left to scientists, politicians, engineers and the built environment professions, but emerge from as wide a base as possible with participation and involvement from all sections of the wider community. Ultimately the mitigation and adaptation measures will be social and cultural as much as scientific and technical.

Sea level projections and how they have been used

The sea level data used for Watermarks Bristol was based on the information available for the UK at the time. This data in turn was based on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections. With the support of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, this information was applied specifically to Bristol. The levels used for Watermarks represented the projected combined effect of sea level rise, an extreme high tide and a storm surge for the year 2107. This combination amounts to a water level of 10.35m (33′ 11″) above the current mean sea level or approx 2m (6′ 6″) higher than the current average high tide. Using LIDAR height data for the city, this level was ‘mapped’ on to the buildings and the position and height of the projected images were set accordingly. Since Watermarks, Bristol, the latest official sea level projections for the UK have been updated and available at the UKCP09 website. The new projections put more emphasis on a range of probabilities, acknowledging a high level of uncertainty. The UKCP09 will be incorporated in to next phase of the project.

This project deals with these predicted scenarios in a particular way – as an art project it plays on this uncertainty. The ‘accuracy’ of the illuminated marks in relation to the scientific data on which they are based and on the actual topography of the city is central to the concept. But the illuminated levels are only as accurate as the data on which they are based – and this data is in a constant state of flux and highly contested. The use of projection as a way of producing these level markers is significant in a number of ways. The prediction of future events based on present trends is spoken of as a projection (e.g. stock market projections) The relationship between projected images and the projected data on which they are based is symbolically significant. The image projections are impermanent, fleeting, made only of light and do not materially affect the surfaces on which they fall. In the same way, projections of future events are provisional – never ‘carved in stone’ whereas actual historical events often quite literally are.

The higher ‘extreme scenarios’ are based on the possible collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, which would raise average sea levels by approximately 5 meters (16 feet) . This is scientifically plausible, though most scientists consider very unlikely to occur this century. These have been included as a second layer to the project – as philosophical provocations that ask ‘what if?’ and suggest the mythology of flooding.

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