Xavier Cortada presents the Underwater Homeowners Association
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, Florida will encourage its residents to install an “Underwater HOA” yard sign (similar to the 18” x 24” yard signs realtors use to sell houses) on their front lawn during the first week of December 2018. The yard sign will show 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 this upscale village south of downtown Miami. 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.
About the Artist:
Xavier Cortada is Professor of Practice: Artist at the University of Miami. Through his primary appointment in the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History, he serves in the university’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, College of Arts and Sciences, Miami Business School, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS), School of Architecture, School of Communication, and School of Law.
His science art practice is oriented toward social engagement and environment concerns. The artist has created art installations at the Earth’s poles to generate awareness about global climate change at points in between: In 2007, as a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program Fellow, Cortada used the moving ice sheet beneath the South Pole as an instrument to mark time; the art piece will be completed in 150,000 years. In 2008, he planted a green flag at the North Pole to reclaim it for nature and launch an eco-art reforestation effort.
The Miami artist has also worked with groups globally to produce numerous collaborative art projects, including peace murals in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama, AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa, juvenile justice murals and projects in Miami and Philadelphia, and eco-art projects in Taiwan, Hawaii, and Holland.
Cortada has also been commissioned to create art for CERN, the White House, the World Bank, Florida Botanical Gardens, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, the Florida Turnpike, Miami-Dade Housing Authority, the Frost Science Museum, Museum of Florida History, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum