HI/LOW MARSH TIME

Rendering: Sculptural/digital installation and symbiotic community system. (2015)

HI/LOW MARSH TIME is a sculptural installation and life cycle system reflecting the pre-European landscapes and ecosystems of NYC, where low lying marshlands that existed in the area prior to the building of modern New York City. Taking as a point of reference the Lagoon Cycle (1974-1984) of Helen and Newton Harrison, HI/LOW MARSH TIME is a networked saltwater aquaponics system, envisioned as a form of social sculpture, in which edible sea plants, fish, saltwater, and the wooden tanks that retain them are aesthetic objects, social actors, and community activators. Data from the system is made available through an online portal.

The installation consists of a number of hexagonal tanks, built from reclaimed water tower wood (white cedar), each housing a school of fish from one of three families of Cichlids commonly known as Tilapia: Red Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), Gold Tilapia (Oreochromis Mossambicus), and Blue Tilapia (Oreochromis aureus), along with Copepods (small crustaceans) and algae. Above the fish tanks, water is circulated through angled hexagonal platforms containing gravel and sand along with several species of marshland plants, including edible sea purslane (Halimione portulacoides and Sesuvium portulacastrum) and sea oats (Uniola paniculata). Excess water is circulated downward into the fish tanks, providing nutrients for the fish. Water from the fishtanks is cycled back up to flood the plants, bringing fertilizer. Full spectrum LED lights and pumps provide an artificial daytime and flood the plants on a tidal cycle, synchronized to that of a proximal body of water, in this case, Dutch Kills on nearby Newtown Creek. A series of mirrors, cameras and screens multiplies the visual environment outward and inward. HI/LOW MARSH TIME is a stand in for a missing ecosystem, a self-governing system of agriculture, and a work of sculptural ecology and architecture.

Aquaponics research images: