FloodZone – an ongoing visual research of life in the tidal zone

FloodZone is an ongoing photographic series by Anastasia Samoylova, responding to the environmental changes in coastal cities of South Florida. The project began in Miami in 2016, when Samoylova moved to the area and experience living in a tropical environment for the first time.
The works display in an impressive way the ambivalences and the fluid frontiers between city and sea in a community exposed to frequent floodings. I am particularly impressed how artist Samoylova expands the topic and visual themes onto popular imagery and the everyday in the urban scenery.

All images are from the artist’s website.

Thanks to Ulrike Heine for the lead!

The Mermaids of Weeki Wachee

In a theme park near Tampa, FL, you can see mermaids perform for you live since 1947.

The producers write on their website: “What do you get when you combine underwater fantasy with SCUBA technology? Why, you get mermaids, gliding and twirling to the soundtrack of children’s fairy tales or popular music. […] In the shows the mermaids (and mermen — called princes) discreetly take mouthfuls of air from the slender breathing tubes while they perform. Even with the air tubes, though, it’s clear that part of being a mermaid is being able to hold your breath for quite a while.”

Interestingly, the audience is seated in a giant glass tank, turning the concept of aquarium inside-out: “The mermaids are swimming in a natural spring; the 500-seat theater is embedded in the side of the spring 16 feet below the surface.”

The park is a business venture by the famous performer and sports swimmer Newt Perry, a former Navy soldier who became a celebrity by appearing in over 100 of filmmaker Grantland Rice‘s “Sportlight” short films over a period of three decades. Newt Perry, once dubbed “The Human Fish”, went on to became a much sought-after film advisor for Hollywood.

Newt Perry and mermaid Nancy Tribble in Tampa, FL. Click on the pic for the online source and additional info!

Thanks to Bernd Mand for the lead!

Marine life in the city streets

As extrem weather events in coastal areas intensify and multiply, marine life comes closer to the city. Among the social media posts during hurricane Ian in September/October 2022 posts about marine mammals like sharks or orca whales in the streets were very popular. This seems to be a new theme in flooding stories. And it might be a foreshadowing of an altered relationship between city and ocean due to climate change. City people might have to get used to living in much closer contact with marine population and thus rethink their relationship on ethical and political levels.

This is an image of a shark in a street in Fort Myers (FL).
For a plausibility check of this tweet see: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/video-shark-fort-myers-street/

Also Miami Beach (FL) had it’s cohabitation moment go viral online one year before. In 2019 a resident posted pictures of an octopus swimming through a parking garage.

The Miami Herald quotes University of Miami associate biology professor Kathleen Sullivan Sealey: “She said Miami Beach residents ought to get used to seeing strange new creatures making sporadic appearances as rising sea levels push ocean waters deeper and more frequently onto land, along with some of the creatures that live in them.”