Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde set up his dramatic, touring installation, Waterlicht, outside the United Nations’ headquarters in New York for World Water Day on March 22, 2018. Daan Roosegaarde is the founder of Studio Roosegaarde, which develops projects that merge technology and art in urban environments.
“Waterlicht is the dream landscape about the power and poetry of water. As a virtual flood, it shows how high the water could reach without human intervention and raises awareness around rising water levels caused by global warming.”
– Statement from Studio Roosegaarde
With Waterlicht, visitors are immersed in a cobalt blue flood that’s rendered in light. A combination of LEDs, software, and focusing lenses create a poetic scene intended to mimic the damaging waters of caused by flooding. The point of the art pieces seems to be the juxtaposition of serine and almost gloomy lighting to the realities of climate change being faced in cities across the world. Through this installation Roosegaarde seeks to inspire a future generations of innovators to help address these issues of rising sea levels.
“I want people to experience the wonder but also the risks of water on a physical level, creating an experience you cannot download,” says Rossegaarde. “Waterlicht New York confronts us with a future landscape, and a new reality if we do not invest in ideas and innovation to combat climate change.”
Originally the installation was created for the Dutch District Water Board Rijn & Ijssel in 2015. The first installation drew so much attention that a new site-specific series of Waterlicht was created for the Museumplein in Amsterdam. This installation in Amsterdam attracted more than 60,000 people in 1 night.
Since then the installation has toured Western Europe. From Paris to Madrid to London before making it’s way to New York in 2018.