Sue Montoya

Expanded Documentary

Rising Tides

Miami-based artist and researcher Sue Montoya is creating an investigative mixed-media installation that examines the impact of rising sea levels on the communities and ecosystem of Miami-Dade County.

Sue Montoya

Sue Montoya

Titled Rising Tides, the project looks at the human costs, policies, and speculations tied to “Miami Forever,” a 400-million dollar bond expected to mitigate the consequences of climate change in the city.

With artist Paolo Cirio as her mentor, Montoya works with research to document and represent the strategies employed to allay climate change effects. She also delves into the network of financial, political, and social impact of climate change on Miami’s ecologies as well as its communities and economies. The two will meet for a concentrated work-stay at the ICA Miami in February 2020, followed by a presentation on the process of working on Rising Tides as well as a public workshop.

Sue Montoya: Rising Tides
Sue Montoya, Forecast Forum 2019. Photo: Camille Blake
Sue Montoya: Rising Tides
Sue Montoya, Forecast Forum 2019. Photo: Camille Blake

At the festival, the research material will be combined with a six-hour video documentation of the artist walking along 20 miles of coastline in Miami-Dade County, a gesture that comments on the city’s fragmented infrastructure. Here, Miami serves as a symbol of prioritizing capital accumulation, furthering cultural erasure and economic disparities.

What’s more, Montoya is leading a proposal to unify the county’s unincorporated areas—thus creating a larger city—to address green bonds that target site-specific issues such as flooding, water contamination, heat waves, and more. Rising Tides is conceived as an installation space in which to consider the potential future of Miami in the Capitalocene era.

Sue Montoya: Rising Tides
Forecast Forum 2019. Photo: Camille Blake
Sue Montoya: Rising Tides
Sue Montoya, Forecast Forum 2019. Photo: Camille Blake
Sue Montoya: Rising Tides
Sue Montoya, Rising Tides (detail), Forecast Forum 2019. Photo: Camille Blake
Expanded Documentary: mentor Paolo Cirio and mentee Sue Montoya

Cirio said: “Sue Montoya’s work taps into the one of the most urgent challenge that humanity faces today. Climate change will bring destruction in all aspects of our life and society. […] Starting with the investigation and the collection of archive material, Montoya’s work has the potential to bring ‘climate justice’ by intervening directly in the making of environmental and urban plans, and yet all of this through compelling visual and conceptual art, thereby truly expanding the role of documentary and artists in society.”