If you’re in the Bay Area right now, you have an extraordinary opportunity to take a glimpse into the work of two eco-art pioneers: Helen Mayer and Newton Harrison. Since 1974, the Harrisons have focused their work on hot button environmental topics, addressing dire issues such as global warming. Their latest project dubbed Greenhouse Britain is currently on exhibit at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. The exhibit features models and renderings focused on the Earth’s rising sea levels, strategies for survival and alternative futures.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a terraformed map of England and Scotland. Six projectors hang above the piece with images cast onto the surface, visually simulating the rising water levels along the shorelines. In tandem with these movements, on loop, a statement of truth plays through the speakers above asserting, “The news is not good, and its getting worse.”
But don’t be discouraged by such somber words, the entire exhibition is in fact an anti-panic pill presenting sustainable solutions to an apocolyptic Waterworld like future. The walls are covered in plans depicting strategies for transplanting villages to the mountains, creating damns to protect cities from storm-surges, and examining the cultural impact of each new body of water created by the rising seas.
The Harrisons and their collaborators fundamentally embrace climate change as an opportunity for new modes of thinking and new models of living. Though there are occasional defelctions toward a more utopian mode of existence, on the whole, Greenhouse Britain maps out a new, calmer and more sustainable future.
Greenhouse Britain will certainly bring their vistors’ a much needed eco-jolt, but if you happen to live outside of the Bay Area don’t fret, you can still soak up all this great eco-art online at Greenhouse Britain’s virtual exhibit.