human tide recreates long-lost marcel duchamp artwork at sea human tide recreates long-lost marcel duchamp artwork at sea
dec 30, 2013

human tide recreates long-lost marcel duchamp artwork at sea

human tide recreates long-lost marcel duchamp artwork at sea



in 2010, a long-lost marcel duchamp work was discovered in a norfolk, england junk shop. inside a book signed by the late master were 100-year old instructions for a piece he called ‘la maree humaine’, a reference found in the study drawings created by french-american artist his ‘3 standard stoppages’. the illustration appeared to imagine people painting waves with light to capture the linear impressions made by the tide as it came in. beyond the technology at the time, duchamp’s long lost dream has become a reality for the ‘human tide’ project. 



human tide
video courtesy of human tide



digital agencies syzygy and unique, in partnership with park village, have decoded duchamp’s lost visualization. like the 3 standard stoppages — where duchamp preserved the random lines made by 3 x 1-metre long pieces of string using wood — ‘human tide’ preserves 3 x 1-kilometre-long lines made by the incoming tide, using light and film. the mass performance took place as part of the ‘I am not dead festival’ — a centenary celebration of duchamp’s time in herne bay, kent. the staged performance artwork involved participants to trace the tide’s edge for 1,000 meters using giant sonar-guided light sticks to mark where the water meets the sand. three separate light trails were drawn by a group of human tide walkers, filmed simultaneously as both time-lapse and long exposure motion photography. the result is a first in film making: a giant painting of light waves over a fast moving film of the setting sun and incoming tide, accompanied by an exclusive data-mix soundtrack from orbital’s paul hartnoll.



human tide traces the sea
image by peter fry



participants enter the water with sonar lit sticks
image by matthew parkes



preparing to create the ‘human tide’
image by matthew parkes



setting out to sea
image by dan ridgway

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