Look into Fort Point Channel, and you’ll see what appears to be the top of a building that’s submerged in the water. Fort Point Arts Community commissioned Boston-based interdisciplinary artist Zy Baer to create the floating work. The installation, called "Polarity," warns about the threat of rising sea levels, and what the Seaport District will look like if no action is taken on climate change. Baer shares more about the work below.
On the creation of 'Polarity'
"'Polarity' looks like a building that has collapsed into the Fort Point Channel due to flooding from climate change that has eroded its foundation. It is designed in the style of Fort Point’s architecture, which is brick and beam construction with oxidized copper cornices. And there's variation throughout the neighborhood. So it's kind of an amalgam of all these different buildings that are here.
"I chose to do this project through a very specific lens of ‘Your luxury condo is going to flood, so you should care.'"Zy Baer
"'Polarity' is located on the border of Fort Point and Seaport, which are the two wealthiest neighborhoods in Boston. I chose to do this project through a very specific lens of ‘Your luxury condo is going to flood, so you should care.'"
On the severity of climate change
"So, I first learned about climate change, or the climate crisis, or global warming in, I think, the first grade in science class. And as I got older and I learned more about it, I was feeling this sense of urgency of the problem, this anxiety about it, and this fear of what my adult life would look like and everyone else's. What would the future of our planet be? And not seeing the adults around me sort of react with that same sense of urgency. And that, I think, made me more afraid because it felt like the people in power were not taking it seriously.
"...as I got older and I learned more about it, I was feeling this sense of urgency of the problem, this anxiety about it, and this fear of what my adult life would look like and everyone else's."Zy Baer
"I hope that when people see 'Polarity,' they have almost a visceral response to it that I guess triggers something emotional in them that makes them want to do more research on the climate crisis and figure out ways that we can plug into existing efforts for climate change, mitigation and for land back initiatives. And that makes us all feel the urgency and the severity of what's coming for us."
You can see “Polarity” in Fort Point Channel from the Summer Street and Congress Street bridges. It’s on view through the summer.
This segment aired on June 18, 2021.