© Christopher Pelley  2019

 

Acqua Alta

temporary installation, Rome

Walking around Rome, one cannot help but notice the idrometri, or high water plaques, some impossibly high, that mark the level of inundations that have occured over the centuries. Rome, after all, is built in a flood plain.  Global warming and rising flood waters are on our minds these days.  Oh sure, the North Carolina legislature has tried to make the problem go away by officially banning mention of rising sea levels due to global warming in documents and planning projections funded with state money,  but cities from New York to London to Venezia are preparing for the inevitable.  Wandering the narrow streets of Roma I began to wonder if the water rose to such unbelievable heights in the 15th and even 20th centuries (before the protective embankments were built in the 19th century, and upstream dams in the 1950's and 60's and before global warming took hold), what will the future bring?  Here is a video of an urban intervention I did of a possible scenario: 

This fake plaque was installed on the facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, Rome in July, 2011