Photo: Pekka Niittyvirta

This Light Installation in Scotland Highlights Rising Sea Levels in a Way You Can’t Ignore

Sustainability News Art + Architecture
by Eben Diskin Mar 7, 2019

Inventive light installations, such as the new Van Gogh exhibits in Paris or the Tokyo Digital Art Museum, tend to be inspiring sights, but this one has a less cheerful, more cautionary message. Lines (57° 59′ N, 7° 16’W), a light installation on the Outer Hebrides island of Lochmaddy, Scotland, gives a visual representation of how much the sea level will rise if global warming continues at its current rate.

Three synchronized installations of light were set up using sensors that track the rising tide and project light across the surrounding landscape. The line of light is intended to show the future sea levels at high tide.

The installation was developed by artists and co-collaborators Timo Aho and Pekka Niittyvirta, who hope the work will raise awareness of rising sea levels. According to the website, “The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long-term effects. The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future.”

Addressing why the Hebrides was chosen as the site of the installation, the pair wrote that rising sea levels are “specifically relevant in the low lying island archipelago of Uist in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, and in particular to Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in Lochmaddy where the installation is situated. The Centre cannot develop on its existing site due to predicted storm surge sea levels.”


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