"There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses." —Diane Ackerman
Part of Art @ Bartrams Garden
With Mural Arts Philadelphia
Supported by the William Penn Foundation
In concert with River Rooms
A tide-responsive floating installation draws attention to “nature’s clock” on the shores of Philadelphia’s Bartram’s Garden.
Hundreds of round, brightly-painted buoys register the Schuylkill River’s twice-daily changes tide, drawing attention to what many Philadelphians overlook: that they live within the daily influence of the ocean and its tides. Tide Field creates a visual reminder of that cycle, providing neighbors and visitors alike a chance to notice how the river changes throughout the day. Tethered in clusters along the shoreline of Philadelphia’s Bartram’s Garden, the famed public botanical garden situated on the banks of the Schuylkill, the installation literally changes with the tide. When the tide is high, only a few buoys are visible; as the tide lowers, more buoys are exposed. These changes are easy to see from Tide Field’s partner installation, River Rooms, a series of six boat-shaped viewing platforms placed throughout Bartram’s grounds. Together, Tide Field and River Rooms create not only an invitation to be aware of the tide’s constant rhythms, but also accessible spaces for reflection and observation of the tide’s watery clocks.
At low tide, all of the buoys are exposed and lie on the surface of the river. As the tide rises, the green buoys are covered and the red and aqua buoys arch over the water’s surface. When high tide arrives, the strands are covered except for the top red or yellow buoys, which stand up from the surface. As the tide lowers again, the aqua buoys reappear and begin the tide cycle again.
Styrofoam buoys being painted and prepared in artist's studio.