GroundWaterSeaLevel

2014

powder-coated steel pipes with RGB LEDs, custom circuits, soil moisture sensor, and water pressure transducer

Five industrial metal pipes, sized like tree trunks or utility poles, rise from a planted area bordering a traffic circle. Each is perforated by a grid of hundreds of silicone-encased LEDs. The lit LEDs suggest two separate bands of light, one blue and one green, that extend across the five poles, at the same elevation on each pole. At times, the two colored bands appear to overlap to create a light blue band.

The lights, slowly but constantly changing over time, represent actual climactic conditions in the immediate area. The green band represents the level of moisture in the soil at the foot of the poles, while the blue band represents the flooding and ebbing tide level in the adjacent Burrard Inlet. Both levels correspond to the actual conditions as measured by physical sensors installed in these locations. Continually changing, the piece's slow modulation will remind us of, and return us to, the pace of natural processes.

Acting as a real display monitor, the piece poetically visualizes some of the environmental conditions that shape the traffic, economy and culture of the area, connecting the audience to these pervasive yet overlooked conditions. These functional materials formally suggest some of the iconic forms in which industry and natural resources meet locally (cut logs, utility poles, smoke stacks, water mains, etc.) and some of the civil engineering systems normally hidden out of sight.

Collection(s): City of North Vancouver

Germaine Koh, powder-coated steel pipes with RGB LEDs, custom circuits, soil moisture sensor, and water pressure transducer, 2014,