Arts and the Anthropocene: Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways


Fall 2020 - Spring 2021


This project team explored how visual, theatrical and sonic arts play a role in educating, provoking action and developing resilient futures in the Anthropocene, the current epoch of geological time dominated by human activity. Team members examined how scientists and artists address social and ecological crises and entanglements, and constructed Spectral Seas, an art installation, depicting 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. This art was installed in the front lobby of the Rubenstein Arts Center in Durham, NC. The team also incorporated multimedia video projections and sound to evoke the threat sea-level rise poses to humans and the environment. Team members also used StoryMaps to showcase the science and local impacts of sea level rise, as well as their artistic process.

Location: Rubenstein Arts Center



Mingyong Cheng, Ke Ding, Kathleen Mason, Jessica Orzulak, Hillary Smith, Chaya Brennan Agarwal, Madison Griffin, Joyce Gu, Kendall Jefferys, Katherine Kelley, Sarah Kelso, Ayesham Khan, Elizabeth Kramer, Alison Rosenbaum, Jessica Wang, Milagros de Souza, Elizabeth Albright, Mark Olson, William Warasila


Jonathan Henderson, Raquel Salvatella De Prada


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Air & Climate, art installation, community outreach, local impacts, Public Engagement, sea level rise