UNDERWATER FLORIDA

In 2022, artist Xavier Cortada mapped the coastline of his home state of Florida, a peninsula whose very boundaries are defined by water. The artist traveled to more than 50 coastal city halls and placed a sign at each, depicting their respective elevations above sea level. By doing this at the very place where city officials make decisions about municipal budgets, as well as land use, planning and zoning, Cortada made visible the threat that sea level rise poses to each city’s future tax base.

JACKSONVILLE

DAYTONA BEACH

FERNANDINA BEACH

FLAGLER BEACH

CAPE CANAVERAL

Pensacola

COCOA BEACH

STUART

HALLANDALE BEACH

KEY WEST

MIAMI BEACH

FORT PIERCE

NORTH BAY VILLAGE

MARATHON

VERO BEACH

JUPITER

NAPLES

VENICE

SARASOTA

CAPE CORAL

Fort Myers

St. Petersburg

Tampa

Cedar Key

MELBOURNE

ST. AUGUSTINE

Port Saint Joe

Panama City

Fort Walton Beach

TITUSVILLE

NEW SMYRNA BEACH

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This project is an extension of Cortada’s “Underwater HOA,” a socially engaged art project launched in 2018 that saw participants display their property elevations across the community: Using an app, residents discover their property’s elevation above sea level and then install a “UHOA marker” (a yard sign that has the number depicting their house’s elevation) in their front yard. In addition to the personalized signs, the UHOA partnered with the Village of Pinecrest and local public high schools to paint elevation markers on four major intersections along Pinecrest’s Killian Drive. Cortada’s Antarctic Ice Paintings serve as the markers’ backdrop, a literal depiction of melted Antarctic ice.