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Time and Tide

Carolina Aragón creates powerful public art in Boston.

Carolina Aragón's public art piece, High Tide, consists of 500 6- to 8-foot-high fiberglass rods mounted with colored plexiglass lenses.
Photo by
Matt Conti

Shimmering across the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston’s North End is a colorful, reflective ghost of the marsh the urban landscape used to be—and may in the future return to being.

High Tide, created by Carolina Aragón, consists of 500 6- to 8-foot-high fiberglass rods mounted with colored plexiglass lenses to evoke reeds and light on water. 

Aragón is a creator of public art and an assistant professor in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. To create High Tide, she studied maps of sea level rise and the history of land reclamation along the harbor.

The lenses are coated with dichroic film that reveals varying colors according to the angle of light: “The piece looks different every time because of the wind direction,” Aragón explains. “Sometimes when the wind comes through, the reeds all move their heads at the same time.” As the piece is installed on a subtle grade, the circles also reflect the depth and volume of water. High Tide is installed at Cross Street in front of the former Traffic Tunnel Administration Building, and will be in place until winter.

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Carolina Aragón.

Carolina Aragón in her UMass Amherst studio.

Photo by
John Solem

“Art is a way for us to make sense of our environment,” says Aragón. “And public art is powerful. It has the widest possible audience: it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of language, income, or time. It is free.”