A tall, thin panel of LED lights displays a peach, pink, purple and blue watercolour texture during sunset. The sunset reflects off the glass panels of a modern structure in the background.
A tall, thin panel of LED lights displays a yellow, green and blue watercolour texture during the evening.
A tall, thin panel of LED lights displays a teal and blue watercolour texture during the evening.

Live data from local tides and weather patterns creates an endlessly transforming watercolour.

Artist: Michael Thomas Hill and Indigo Hanlee
Curator: Jess Scully

Artwork description

Taking information from tides and local weather patterns, High Water transforms live data from each day into a constant moving watercolour. These striking colours are displayed on a 9m LED tower in Green Square plaza.

High Water interprets our changing physical world every minute of the day through changes in temperature, humidity, wind direction, precipitation levels and tidal patterns.

Using a mix of handmade watercolours and generative art, High Water provides a visual interpretation of our changing climate.

A complementary website lets visitors understand the data, colours and patterns in real time and see visual summaries of local environmental conditions over the day, week and year. Access the visual record archive.

“We would love for the weather to ultimately take the role of creator for High Water. If that’s the case, we’d hope that regular visitors to the site would be using and seeing those colours and recognising it as its own visual language.”

– Indigo Hanlee


Indigo Hanlee and Michael Thomas Hill create digital media for public spaces. Working as part of the Sydney-based design studio Lightwell, they use new technologies to interpret the physical world.

Lightwell has worked with museums and cultural institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum, Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, State Library of NSW, ACMI in Melbourne, the National Archives, the National Museum of Australia and many others.

The artists won the Chippendale World Art Prize for their work Dyeing Breath in 2016, and have created other permanent artworks for both the City of Sydney and the City of Seoul.

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