A journalist passes through a flooded city by boat, reporting on the devastating effects of a major flood – it’s an image that you'll most likely recognise from the news. Trees, electricity poles and roofs stick out above the surface while cars and personal belongings float along along and the city’s residents have (hopefully) fled. It’s an intense, disruptive kind of disaster that's becoming more and more common.

A disaster scenario like that comes pretty close to home when you pass through Tom Biddulph and Barbara Ryan’s installation Surface Tension. The artists have transformed part of the city into a drowned street: the spooky, glowing silhouettes of swept-up cars, lamp posts and traffic signs rise out of the water, a ghostly vision of what could happen. Biddulph and Ryan's background in graphic design is clearly visible in the piece: it is a spatial line drawing, made of light.

The delicate ecosystem of our earth has evolved over billions of years, but is now being disrupted by human actions. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, when nature disrupts our lives as a consequence. Due to manmade climate change and the big ice melt, water levels are rising and with it, the risk of devastating flooding around the world. Luckily, that’s not the case just yet, but let's all consider Surface Tension a fair warning...

Photos: Janus van der Eijnden

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  • suitable for on water
  • suitable for land
  • this artwork is suitable
    for suspension

About Tom Biddulph & Barbara Ryan

Tom Biddulph (UK, 1991) and Barbara Ryan (UK, 1992) met while they were studying graphic design at Kingston University in London. Not long after, they moved to Amsterdam, where they have been working separately as a freelance art director and designer for various creative agencies. In addition, they work together on a variety of projects, from photography to publishing.

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