“The Underwater: Miami-Dade Parks” is a permanent interactive art installation of sustainable concrete elevation sculptures that, in his capacity as Miami-Dade’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Xavier Cortada is creating across all of Miami-Dade County’s 287 parks.
Working through the Xavier Cortada Foundation, the artist is partnering with the Office of the Miami-Dade County Mayor, Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces, the University of Miami College of Engineering, and private sector partners to reveal our collective vulnerability to rising seas, spark climate conversations, and catalyze the involvement of residents in local environmental efforts.
These concrete markers, each ambiguously depicting a park’s elevation above sea level, are being made from seawater, recycled aggregate and non-metallic reinforcement, aiming to feature building materials that are less energy intensive and better for the environment.
Importantly, anyone who scans the sculptures’ QR codes can discover their own home’s elevation above sea level and get a free Underwater yard sign to put in their front yard, thereby joining the county-wide installation and raising awareness in their neighborhood.
The initiative expands upon Cortada’s celebrated participatory climate art projects, “Underwater HOA” and “The Underwater,” which have garnered international media attention as innovative approaches to generating climate action and are the topic of Cortada’s recent TED Talk which has now been seen by over 1.3 million people.