What Color Was the Water?


137 years of annual average temperature for the world’s oceans; handwoven organic cotton dyed with plant and insect-derived dyes and mineral mordants

Water isn’t blue. It is the color of an entire ecosystem- what is reflected in it and what is contained within it.

How will we remember all that we lose in the face of global climate crises? What color was the water before acidification, rising temperatures, dumping of toxic waste, die off of coral reefs, species loss, etc. etc.

Each panel in this series interprets 137 years of annual average temperature of the world’s oceans (climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). While each is based on the same data, the coding changes, exploring how choices in representation shifts how we see and what we know. These changes in color from panel to panel point to the differing ways in which we observe and experience changes to the water that connects us all (the golden dryness of the desert, a shimmering mirage, acidification, the redness of rising temperatures, the death of organisms filling the ocean with blood…)