Coastal cities around the globe are currently engaged in conversations about how to fortify themselves against the climate-perils of tomorrow. Local governments often frame these conversations in terms of the preservation of real estate assets and local economies above water so that “business as usual” can continue. In Miami and beyond, it’s critical not only to build resilience against climate change, but to cultivate a regenerative ethos.
For their upcoming Waterproof Miami project with Bas Fisher Invitational and Bridge Initiative, the Institute of Queer Ecology (IQECO) presents an exhibition that proposes evolving Miami into a “Symbiotic City:” a civic strategy for environmental harm reduction and climate adaptation. The ongoing project of saving this world requires constantly remaking it, re-grounding the work in mutualistic symbioses rather than individualistic competition.
To begin imagining this ecozoic shift—away from competition, towards mutualism—this exhibition brings together artists living in Miami and other coastal cities: the liminal, romantic, real edges of the sea and shore. Memories, dreams, and experiences materialize into visions of a future where coastal cities don’t fortify themselves against a rapidly changing world, but change themselves to meet the moment’s needs. The show—the shore—is sincere and tactile. From an altar constructed of hurricane debris collected along the Gulf Coast, an audio composition that gives voice to the worsening water conditions in Biscayne Bay, and a photo archive transmuted onto beach towels documenting a formative IQECO residency in the queer towns of the Fire Island National Seashore, the exhibition traces a line from New Orleans, down Florida, and up the Eastern Seaboard, bringing together artists concerned with the future changes faced by the places they live and love.
Alternative, queer readings of evolutionary biology and ecology can inform and re-form how we see ourselves as a species, particularly regarding the mutual benefits that cooperation brings to the interconnected social infrastructures of all species. The Institute of Queer Ecology plots a new trajectory forward, one where we transform our one-sided, parasitic relationships with the environment into networks of symbiosis and mutualism, regeneration and care—as a city, a society, and a species.