Located in Townsville, in the Australian state of Queensland, the Museum of Underwater Art is purported to be the only underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere. It shares the stories of the Great Barrier Reef and the local Aboriginal people, with an aim of inspiring reef conservation.
As part of the Museum’s exhibits, off the Strand beachfront promenade in Townsville sits the Ocean Siren. This four-metre-tall solar-powered sculpture has been created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, and is modelled on a local schoolgirl of Wulgurukaba Aboriginal heritage.
A node-based lighting solution has been added to the sculpture, enabling it to change colour in response to live water temperature data. This information is sourced from the weather station installed at Davies Reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Several Philips Colour Kinetics LMX nodes have been used, which change colour from blue to dark red, showing the current conditions of the reef and acting as a visual reminder of the potential risks to coral reefs from warming seas.
Working alongside the artist and the build team, Pharos collaborated with system design experts bluebottle to create cohesive control for the sculpture. The system is controlled by a Pharos LPC, running a custom script that was developed by the Pharos team, and is remotely accessible. Fibre optic cables transmit data from on shore to the sculpture, solar panels provide the power, and a Dynalite relay switches the system off to conserve power during the day and increase the lifespan of the installation. The power supplies are rated at IP67 and have been specially designed to be salt water resistant.
The Ocean Siren has become a renowned art installation, and its presence has achieved its aim of raising awareness of the issue of rising sea temperatures. The lighting control element, through the advanced capabilities of the Pharos LPC, has delivered a captivating way of depicting the sea temperature via coloured lighting, and in turn secured widespread acclaim for its originality and evocativeness.
You can watch a video of the Ocean Siren here: