“Climate Change Depicted in Art”

Christina Hum wrote the following article for the IMSG Employee Newsletter, July 2011.

In early 2010, IMSG employee and Geospatial Analyst Matt Pendleton was presented with an interesting outreach project. Mary Edna Fraser, a contemporary American textile artist, wanted to illustrate projected sea level rise for the year 2100 in an art project showing the Charleston, South Carolina, coast. Mary Edna specializes in the ancient medium of batik, utilizing aerial photography, satellite imagery, and modern dye technology.

Matt, who works at the NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston, SC, collected and analyzed the most authoritative spatial data that applied to the Charleston, South Carolina, coast. He then “translated” this data to produce a large, roll-out map of the Charleston coast in April 2010 that illustrated a scenario of sea level rise for the year 2100. Scientists vary on their projections of sea level rise, so Matt’s
map illustrated a mid-range projection – 1.4 meters of sea level rise
by 2100.

Using Matt’s map as a visual aid, Mary Edna created her batik, “Charleston Airborne Flooded,” which is part of a comprehensive exhibit and upcoming book, coauthored with scientist Orrin Pilkey, exploring the major elements of global climate change. The book, titled Global Climate Change: A Primer, is scheduled for a late summer/fall publication date by Duke University Press.

This batik is the centerpiece of the Our Expanding Oceans exhibit, currently on display through November 6 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The Raleigh News and Observer published an article about the exhibit. Mary Edna told Matt and the Center team how “everyone really understands global warming when they see your projection.” The exhibit notes also mention Matt, IMSG, the Center, and the 2100 sea level rise projection.

The batik will be on display at the Florida Museum of Fine Arts’ Thread of Life exhibit from February 10 to March 25, 2012, before it continues “traveling” in future Our Expanding Oceans exhibits.

The Coastal Conservation League is sponsoring a Sept. 8 presentation of the book’s publication and a book signing from 6 to 8 pm at the Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Mary Edna has informed the Center team that Matt, IMSG, and the Center will also be credited in the book.

Visit Mary Edna’s website at http://maryedna.com/works-for-sale/batiks/ to see the full batik of “Charleston Airborne Flooded.” Other climate change batiks in the Our Expanding Oceans exhibit can be viewed at http://maryedna.com/exhibitions/our-expanding/. Visit the exhibit website for more information about Our Expanding Oceans at http://naturalsciences.org/about-us/news/?select=1674. © 2010 I.M. Systems Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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