check out the latest video : TIDE FIELD, art on the Schuylkill

Thousands of buoys made an eyelash for the city – each strand bending with the changing currents.

RIVER EYELASH

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2005

Three thousand painted buoys, steel washers, pink rope

400 feet wide x 100 feet deep

Temporary project for Three Rivers Arts Festival

 

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Forty-two strands of buoys radiate out from the bulkhead of Point State Park, like an eyelash for the city. The eyelash floats where the concrete of the city meets the fluid edge of the water, engaging the great open surface of three rivers. The eyelash continuously changes formation in response to wind direction, speed of the currents, and types of waves. The lines of buoys mimic the arched forms of the nearby steel bridges. The lines are strung with steel washers that make clanking sounds. These reverberate louder as the wakes of boats moves through the eyelash.

The buoys became like a diagram of wave action, showing how the surface of the river moved.

The Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers join to make the Ohio River at Point State Park. Each river comes from a different watershed and has a different water quality, temperature, and flow pattern. It is apparent how much murkier the Monongahela River is (lower right) than the Allegheny River (which flows from the top of the photo). See arrow.

Seen from the highway, The Eyelash appears as an orange tinge on the rivers.

When experienced from up close, the clinking from the metal washers strung on the buoys was reminiscent of the sound of a marina. The noise would increase in volume as the wakes of boats moved through the Eyelash becoming like a cacophony of metallic starlings.

The lines of buoys mimic the arched forms of steel bridges which cross nearby.

An early diagram showing the two rivers converging at Point State Park.

Each strand of buoys ended with yellow tips, reminiscent of the artist’s own eyelashes.