May 27, 2024

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Signs Are Not Enough: Crush Barriers Should Stop More People From Falling Into Water Artworks |  strange

Signs Are Not Enough: Crush Barriers Should Stop More People From Falling Into Water Artworks | strange

The Dutch municipality of Utrecht has installed crowd barriers around 250-metre waterworks. Last week, three people fell into the water, thinking it was a muddy playground they could walk on. However, they step on the waterworks, resulting in an unplanned shower. Last week, to the artwork’s maker’s dismay, the municipality actually put up a warning flag.

Break barriers were placed around Euclideslaan’s water artwork on Tuesday, according to a municipality spokesperson. In this way, Utrecht hopes to prevent more people from collapsing into the reservoir.

In the past week, at least three people have fallen into the water. Office workers – the pond located in a shopping complex – had to lift drowning people out of the water. Turns out it wasn’t the first time. For example, Belgian Lilith Smidts (28) previously thought a work of art was a road. She had a date across the street and thought she would quickly cross the street. The shock causes her to have a seizure in the icy water. Fortunately, the other unfortunate falls only escaped with a wet suit.

look. Red stones or water? Several people drowned in Utrecht after accidentally stepping into a pond


The culprit is the duckweed fern, an aquatic plant that floats on the surface of the water and expands explosively, sometimes creating an optical illusion. In the summer, the plant looks like grass and in the winter it turns red, so that the water looks like a gravel path.

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The municipality has now sucked the plants out of the artwork’s waters, but according to plant expert Steve van Walsum of the Floron Plant Experience Center, it’s likely they’ll come back. “It’s a kind of weed. If the municipality wants to keep people from falling, the plants should always be removed. There’s a good chance the water will be shut off again this summer.”

This guy also fell into the red water in the Rijnsweerd business park in Utrecht. © Hark Place


Last week, Utrecht already put up a warning flag and twelve more are in the works. In addition, the municipality is studying the possibility of installing one or two fountains, so that people can clearly see that it is water.


Ironic, according to Karen Dunne, creator of the “Sinking Ship” artwork. Last week, it said it objected to the arsenal of warning signs. “It’s ridiculous to put thirteen dishes in such a beautiful water feature. Then it all broke. You’re making the business so ridiculous,” said Dutch. “People should just look out of their heads,” she says.

The municipality has since been in contact with the artist. “We have an appointment with her in the short term.” Until another solution is found, the fracturing barriers that were put up on Tuesday will remain in place and other signs will not be put up yet, according to a municipal spokesperson.

Sometimes it is clear that it has to do with water.  The participating artist says:
Sometimes it is clear that it has to do with water. “People should just look out of their heads,” says the participating artist. © M