I travelled to Antarctica in 2006 as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Artist and Writers Program fellow. There, I created a series of works on paper by melting ice samples scientists gave me from their research on how human impacts on global climate are melting the Antarctic glaciers.

"Underwater HOA" depicts South Florida’s vulnerability to those melting glaciers: the Village of Pinecrest will encourage its residents to install an “Underwater HOA” marker on their front lawn during the first week of December 2018. The marker will display how many feet of melting glacial water must rise before their property is underwater. I numbered each yard sign from 0 to 17 feet, the land elevation range for the 6,000 houses in the Village. The signs’ backdrop show the watercolor paintings I made in Antarctica by melting ice from the very glaciers that threaten to melt and drown Miami.

By mapping the crisis to come, I make the invisible visible. Block by block, house by house, neighbor by neighbor, I want to make the future impact of sea level rise something no longer possible to ignore.

My socially-engaged environmental art practice aims to help address the problem at hand: As part of the effort, I will charter a homeowner’s association where members are organized by property elevation–the most important metric any coastal community need consider. By asking participants to join Underwater HOA, I engage my neighbors as problem-solvers who will learn together and work together now to plan and better prepare (themselves and their heirs) for the chaos to come.

 

 #UNDERWATERHOA

A participatory public art project by
Xavier Cortada, Pinecrest Gardens Artist-in-Residence

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