City of Sydney


Data Visualisation & Light Installation

TIDAL is a data visualisation of concurrent tides in Sydney and its coastal sister cities: Nagoya, Guangzhou, Portsmouth, San Francisco and Wellington. The visualised tidal data is of the future - forecasts of the year 2050. Oscillating at 5000 times normal speed and 1:1 scale, the 12 months of data is compressed into 1 hour & 45 minutes. Each ebb and flow becomes a calm breath in and out.

We have long been able to predict the Earth's tides decades into the future, accurate to the second and the centimetre. However, global warming, the dredging of river channels and the filling in of coastal wetlands are altering tidal movements that have long been considered stable.

With this in mind, the tidal data is less a prediction of the future than a nostalgic artefact of a time when the world seemed more stable - when the predicting of tides depended exclusively on celestial forces far beyond our control. The data ceases to be an object of the future, and instead becomes one of the past.

Nevertheless, these graceful sine wave motions of colour hovering within the city serve as a reminder – although we are anxious about the future, our oceans will continue to rise and fall as they have for millennia, regardless of whether we are here to see them.

Artist: Mike Daly
Project Manager & Technical Director: Leif Wilson
Sound: William Basinski & Lawrence English - Mono No Aware, Selva Oscura
Light Manufacturing: Edge Light
Frame Construction: Gorilla Constructions
Electrician: Sean Mitchell
Cinematographer: Samuel Phibbs
Program Manager (City of Sydney): Liza Bahamondes
Funded by the City of Sydney through Art & About

Tidal data retrieved from Copyright © 2014-2022 Brainware LLC. Data is obtained from various sources and is covered in part or whole by various copyrights.