While scientists usually get the big headlines for research and forecasts related to global warming, many artists and designers are proposing their own noteworthy responses to this monumental problem. As resources are extinguished and species go extinct, populations explode and oceans rise, we need radically creative thinking to make sufficiently drastic change. The world of art and design is a likely idea incubator.
In the spring of 2009, a collective of artists will launch a new work called Waterpod that proposes a lifestyle shift toward waterborne nomadism, beginning on the East River with a group of eager and willing collaborators. Waterpod is a floating shelter designed to house a small community, capable of moving with tides and floods while keeping its clutch safe and dry.
A touch reminiscent of the Miss Rockaway Armada project that sprouted several years ago in Minnesota, Waterpod is starting out—at least in the demonstration phase—as a Tom Sawyer adventure for the Burning Man clan. In contrast, however, the structure appears to be far more sophisticated than a raft of lashed timber. As the crew describes it, "the Waterpod is structured as a triple-domed island, measuring approximately 80 feet by 25 feet, built of wood, metal, plastic, fabric, and other materials on top of and adjacent to an industrial barge."
The Waterpod is scheduled to set sail in March 2009, traveling around New York before heading up the Hudson toward Montreal in July. During its tour the structure will host lectures, exhibitions, and performances from an array of artists. They are still open for submissions from artists who deal with ecology, community and collaboration, and they are also on the hunt for building materials to complete these slick, round-topped structure. If they pull it off it will resemble a nice aquatic cross between the California Academy of Sciences and the less-gaudy Epcot Center, flanked with plenty of wind and solar technology to help light the way.