Ellen installed the Bay Watching on Pier 62/63 two years after the first project whose purpose was to draw attention to the water quality of the Sound. This time she posed the question of “how do we measure the Sound?” Through imagery of crude methods of measurement, viewers confronted their inadequacy to understand larger environmental issues as untutored members of the public.
Looking at the water, taking its temperature, even tasting it, tells us little. Is this the reason there are “climate change deniers”? Why do we believe that citizens are experts at issues about which they know next to nothing? Why is the “man on the street” interview given credence while scholars and scientists are dismissed? The artwork encourages us to go farther than the conclusions we draw prima facie.