The High Water Line: The New Yorker

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Eve completes the Manhattan portion of the line near the West Side Highway & West 14th Street. Photo: Hose Cedeno (Permission Eve Mosher)

In 2007 the artist Eve Mosher, interested in climate change, followed the 10ft elevation above sea level around Brooklyn and then Manhattan.  She called the work High Water Line.  She used one of those push along carts that are used to mark football, baseball, rugby and other pitches with chalk (in the US called a heavy hitter, believe it or not).  The New Yorker magazine carried the story post-Sandy.

Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom started from the question, “The waters are rising.  How can we retreat gracefully?” and the first works that the artists produced were the re-drawing of the UK coastline at the 5m, 10m and 15m marks.

Artist Chris Bodle did a similar exercise in Bristol – you can see documentation here.

Bill McKibben recently said that where artists cluster around issues you know something important is happening.

He’s been quoted as describing artists as ‘the antibodies of the cultural bloodstream”.

“Artists”, he says “sense trouble early, and rally to isolate and expose and defeat it, to bring to bear the human power for love and beauty and meaning against the worst results of carelessness and greed and stupidity. So when art both of great worth, and in great quantities, begins to cluster around an issue, it means that civilization has identified it finally as a threat.” (thanks to Roanne Dods/Clare Cooper for this quote)

Please comment with other examples of artists marking high water lines.

6 Responses to “The High Water Line: The New Yorker”

  1. Wallace Heim Says:

    Plunge by Michael Pinsky was a set of 3 blue led-light rings placed on the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar, the Duke of York Column and the Paternoster Square Column, London. Each indicated the water level of the Thames, in one thousand years, should climate change go unchecked.
    The project was supported by LIFT and ArtsAdmin
    7 February – 4 March, 2012

  2. carl billingsley (@carlbillingsley) Says:

    The projects that are most effective are those that touch lightly upon the issue. Thanks for posting the link to these sites.

  3. deannapindell Says:

    Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler led a similar project in Seattle. I believe it was called Watermark, and marked the line with dripping icewater. They have worked on a number of climate-change related works.

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