Last week the Human Tide project team finished shooting an exciting photographic endeavor: a project to digitally recreate legendary artist Marcel Duchamp’s most renowned artwork through light painting timelapse.


As it being an entire century since Duchamp’s 1913 visit to Kent’s Herne Bay where he created the infamous 3 Standard Stoppages, digital agencies Syzygy and Unique thought of no better time to pay homage to his work with their own modernised version, set on the very same shoreline it was conceived, only reimagined through digital eyes (and lenses). According to the Human Tide blog, 3 Standard Stoppages was an exercise in chance. Duchamp dropped three one metre lengths of thread and preserved their shapes in glass; he also cut three wooden slats into the shapes of the curved strings as well, and popped all the pieces into a croquet box – arguably a simpler task than producing a light painting timelapse.

The digital recreation of Duchamp’s work involved hundreds of people taking to the beach at dusk, holding giant four-metre purpose made light sticks. Following the path where the water
met the sand across a kilometre of coastline, the walk was repeated three times throughout the turning tide to mimic the trio of strings from Duchamp’s work, to form of a neon wall of light.

Human tide light example

Technical details of the shoot aren’t totally clear, but each walk was shot with an enormous 3D camera set-up that allowed the team to capture timelapse and long exposure film at the same time, which will no doubt notch up the atmosphere levels even further. Interestingly, Human Tide isn’t just a photographic project either; the team also created a web app to track the location of the lights along the beach, and the data will be released on Github as time-stamped coordinates for others to rework into their own ‘digital tide’. 3D sound recordings of the sea and nearby participants were created too, and they’ll be released on Soundcloud.

Human tide get together

With the test shots looking so beautiful, we’re eagerly anticipating the final film, due out later this summer. You can check out the project’s development over on the Human Tide blog, and we’ll be sure to post the final video when it arrives.

All images courtesy of the Human Tide blog.