Normally, the whole focus of this blog is to examine any type of architecture that incorporates water or ice into the design. Rarely, however, I get a chance to take a look at architecture that is about water, something that uses water as a message or a theme rather than an actual physical component.
Michael Pinsky, a London artist, is using blue LED lights to draw attention to the changing climate and rising water levels. Rather than using water in his works of art, he is forcing viewers to imagine water by creating blue rings around famous landmarks, Seven Dials Sundial Pillar, the Paternoster Square Column, and the Duke of York Column.
Appropriately dubbed “Plunge,” this set of artistic modifications imagines the fate of the earth 1000 years in the future by marking future water levels. As global warming continues unchecked and the ice caps melt, rising water levels will completely drown entire cities beneath the ocean. While grim, Pinsky’s vision of the fate of London is by no means farfetched. Many experts estimate a rise in sea levels by as much as 2 meters at the end of 2100, but these conservative figures are likely underestimations of the true impact of global warming.
Pinsky’s pieces are as effective as they are disturbing. By placing these rings around some of London’s most famous landmarks, Pinsky is evoking the same kind of feeling one would typically get when they see graffiti or vandalism. It makes onlookers feel as though someone has callously defiled a historical monument. In a way, this concept isn’t very far from the truth, as the combined ecological footprint of every human on earth will inevitably lead to the destruction of all monuments near water.
Those of us not in London can still experience the dismal future of mankind by checking out the interactive Plunge website. By entering your zip code, you’ll be able to predict just how long it will take before your great grand kids will need to take a boat for their morning commute. By these estimates, my coastal Connecticut town will look more like a bay around the year 2533. I’m safe for the time being, but Pinsky proves that we will need to get up and do something about climate change if we really expect to thrive on earth for another millennium.