Invisible Dust

London | Thursday 21 September
Pollution level: Moderate

Norwich river transformed into giant artwork


24/05/2011
Liz Ballard, Tracing Water, May 2011Liz Ballard, Tracing Water, May 2011

The River Wensum in Norwich’s city centre was highlighted with fluorescent luminous shades on Saturday as part of the Norwich and Norfolk Festival 2011.  The art installation by artist Liz Ballard entitled ‘Tracing Water’, consisted of frozen rings floating across the water releasing coloured dye as they melted, transforming the entire river into one giant dramatic artwork.

This spectacular installation used a tracer dye called fluorescein sodium, a bright green organic acid which is entirely harmless to the environment. Injecting tracer dyes into river systems is a technique normally employed by scientists to measure the time it takes for surface and ground water to travel; the process also indicates how water moves. It is useful for tracing pollutants and for studying both aeration and dispersion.

The work was inspired from research into the movement of water following a collaboration with Dr Kevin Hiscock, a hydrogeologist at the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), University of East Anglia. During the artist’s residency at SES, Ballard took part in experiments with Dr Hiscock,  investigating the water quality of the River Wensum which flows through some of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the United Kingdom.  Please see Dr Kevin Hiscock for more information.

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