Artist Phil Barton uses the Granary Square fountains to visually represent how sea levels are rising by programming them at present and future high tide heights.
This dramatic artwork highlights the perils of rising sea levels and the extent to which land will be lost to the waves if temperatures continue to rise.
The four arrays of fountains will be programmed with the outer jets at current levels of 40cm high and the central jets at the predicted 2123 height of 200cm. The ground has been marked into continents with 20 global cities and island nations at risk of flooding marked and lit. Echoing the daily passage of the tides, the fountains will move around the ‘world’, emphasising the fate of low lying populations if net zero isn’t reached within 20 years.
At high tide, the fountains are taller than all of us, and sea walls, even where they can be built, may not be tall enough. Here in London, the Thames Barrier will need to be higher, but in Dhaka, New York and Cairo, it is difficult to see any option other than the eventual abandonment of low lying land. The artwork is both sobering and a call to action: a reminder that we can change this course of events by reducing our carbon footprints and demanding that businesses and governments do the same.