Sustainable Ballard Steps It Up: On the high-tide line at Golden Gardens Park, we gathered to mark the current and potential damage from sea-level rise. The pink represents the 8 centimeter rise now effecting the Marshall Islands and other equatorial lowlands; the blue wave is a one meter rise, expected if global warming continues at current rates; and the caution tape indicates 11-12 feet, or halfway to total chaos as predicted by An Inconvenient Truth with meltdown of land ice in Greenland and Antarctica. The beach is located along Puget Sound north of the outlet for the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram Chittenden Locks in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
Project coordinator Andrea Faste talked about the science behind the installation, then we hummed America the Beautiful and held a moment of silence. Afterwards a bunch of us took the poles, waves, flagging, signs, and fish-heads downtown to join the march, rally, and Solutions Fair on Seattle’s waterfront.
Sustainable Ballard, a blueprint for EveryTown, USA http://www.sustainableballard.org
Watermark launched our first performance on April 14, 2007 as part of StepItUp and had a repeat performance on Earth Day. Watermark began as a performance/walk to mark the new Seattle waterfront – a line created when applying a potential 20 foot sea level rise due to global warming to the current topography. A group of approximately 20 people assembled wearing all black and walked silently from the Olympic Sculpture Park to All City Coffee through the downtown marking a line with birdseed. We crossed paths with the Big Seattle StepItUp March toward the end of the walk and then continued in the rain up to All CIty Coffee.
The walk was a great chance to explore the terrain right at the edge of what may be the new high watermark. As we walked along in pairs, one person made the birdseed line on the sidewalk while another person held the bag of birdseed. Everyone else either followed in line, or led the group. The person scooping birdseed from the bag had to walk backwards to best distribute the seed in a line, and had to bend down close to the ground to keep the seeds from scattering too far. Thus, combined with the silent nature of the walk, it felt very meditative. As different people made the line, some people compared the experience to prayer and other religious practices.
While retaining the core ideas, Watermark, continues to explore the global climate change issue with a humorous continuation of “tours” through Pioneer Square and SODO, Seattle neighborhoods that will be mainly underwater in the instance of 20 feet of sea-level rise.
Join Watermark this August for two special walking tours of Seattle to call attention to global climate change as part of the Groundtruthing show at SOIL Gallery. The show also includes photo and video documentation of previous performances, a map of Seattle’s potential waterfront, a walking tour brochure, and tourist postcards from the “Venice of the Northwest.”
Organized by artists Nicole Kistler, Sarah Kavage and Vaughn Bell, Watermark is a collection of performances and walking tours ranging from meditative to humorous intended to engage the imaginations of the participant and passerby alike. If we understand the consequences of global climate change, we can take action against it.