Visualizing Sea Level Rise in NC

Project Team

Photos courtesy of Raquel Salvatella de Prada

Our Bass Connections project team explored how visual, theatrical and sonic arts can play a role in educating various publics, provoking action and prefiguring resilient futures in the era of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene refers to our current epoch of geological time dominated by human activity. Spectral Seas, our installation, depicts the scale of future sea level rise. Woven out of over 400 plastic bags collected from the Durham community, the tapestry features layers of color representing different NOAA sea level rise predictions for 2100. We also incorporate multi-media video projections and sound to evoke the threat sea-level rise poses to humans and the environment.

“Our installation conjures both meanings of the word spectral. In color, we highlight a spectrum of sea-level rise predictions that hinge on today’s climate action. But we are also reflecting on the spectral or ghostly qualities of making art about sea level rise: the eeriness of impending floods from increasing storms, the swathes of skeletal trees killed by saltwater intrusion in North Carolina, the graveyards and homes being washed out to sea, memories adrift in the swelling ocean, carried away with the rising waves.” –Kendall Jefferys, Undergraduate team member

For a more in-depth look at the science and local impacts of sea level rise, as well as our artistic process, read more in our three StoryMaps: Science of Sea Level Rise, Local Impacts, and Bass Connections: Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways.

Learn more about this team’s work in Spectral Seas: Tackling Climate Change Through Storytelling by Miriam Sauls.