Rising Tide, on exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York through January, is a harrowing portrait of the human impact of climate change.
Extreme weather events are occurring with ever greater frequency across the globe: wildfires rage uncontrolled across swaths of cherished habitats, and heavy rains, often coupled with cyclone-strength winds, are uprooting areas of human settlement and leaving near-total destruction in their wake. The climate is changing and perhaps the greatest (or most visible) manifestation of our warming world are rising sea levels that threaten to inundate coastlines and, in certain circumstances, render entire countries inhabitable. Rising Tide: Visualizing the Human Costs of Climate Change, currently on display at the Museum of the City of New York, is a traveling exhibition of Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen’s exhaustive work documenting the damage wrought, and yet to come.
The project began in 2011 during a separate transmedia study of migration from Central America northward to the United States. Travel through the region revealed rising sea levels and temperatures as a primary culprit for the decline of agricultural productivity, and, in turn, growing political instability and poverty—factors driving out-migration. For Van Lohuizen, such circumstances begged the question that if the climate crisis is occurring in real-time in this corner of the world, then it must also be doing so elsewhere. To that effect, Rising Tide documents the dramatic consequences of climate change in Greenland, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Fiji, Amsterdam, Panama, Miami, and neighborhoods across New York City.
The documentary footage on display is striking. Photography, video, and drone images, and good old-fashioned journalism present a panopticon of the lived impact of rising sea levels and governmental ineptitude in addressing the crisis.
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