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The Underwater HOA project by Xavier Cortada

Photo credit: cortada.com

Participatory public art project

The Underwater HOA began in 2018 as a participatory public art project by acclaimed environmental artist, Xavier Cortada. The project aims to generate awareness on rising sea levels, and engage Floridians to take action against climate change by providing a space where homeowners can address its impending impacts. The UHOA holds monthly meetings at the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens in Pinecrest, Florida.


Photo credit: cortada.com

Artist's statement

"Underwater HOA" depicts South Florida's vulnerability to 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."

Xavier Cortada

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.

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