‘Underwater Florida’ Exhibition

Cortada's "Underwater Florida" on exhibit at Hibiscus Gallery

Mar. 23, 2023 – Jun. 2, 2023


11000 SW 57TH AVE, PINECREST, FL 33156

In 2022, artist Xavier Cortada traveled to dozens of coastal city halls in his home state of Florida, a peninsula whose very boundaries are defined by water, and placed a sign at each one that marked their respective elevations. By going to the exact locations where city officials make decisions regarding zoning and building permits, Cortada made a statement about the threat sea level rise poses to the tax base of each of the cities.

Through this process, he aimed to help foster an understanding of the kinds of policies that elected officials will need to put in place in the decades to come and ultimately to prompt action at the municipal level. “Underwater Florida” features the elevation signs that Cortada created onsite at each municipal seat of government while mapping Florida’s coastline.

This exhibit 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.