acqua alta: Venice Fall 2019 2020

video projection on archival board

8”H x 26 5/8”W x 18 1/8”D

Video images from the Acqua Alta/high water in Venice are projected onto a paper sculptural abstraction of a fossil shell — Malaptera Ponti — from the Jurassic period (199.6 -145.5 millions years ago). Venice is a treasure of Western Civilization, particularly the Renaissance. It also is a UNECO World Heritage Site. Yet the city and the lives of its inhabitants have been severely impacted and physically altered by the Acqua Alta from climate change, rising seas, the Sirocco and Bora winds, lunar tides, extraction of resources — primarily of groundwater sources for industry, dredging of channels in waterways for cruise boats and the enhancement of tourism. The changes in sea level due to these factors have shocked every island in the Venetian lagoon.

In November and December 2019 during our residency at the Emily Harvey Foundation, we experienced the second and forth highest Acqua Alta in recorded history. And four of many that occurred at that time are included in the top ten. We witnessed the devastation suffered throughout the city to its inhabitants and their homes, possessions, beloved buildings and architectural masterpieces — as well as to businesses, shops, hotels and restaurants and cultural, religious and educational organizations. It has been a powerful and long lasting experience to viscerally feel the horrifying impact of climate change and man’s impact on the environment.

We feel it is appropriate to to combine the images of the flood waters with a beautiful fossil, Malaptera Ponti —a life form that that also “drowned” and is now extinct.

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