Maps of Concern: May and June 2015

Before I went down to Washington St. for the Providence International Arts Festival, I took a picture of the whiteboard map that’s part of the Climate Anxiety Counseling booth. Adorned with a map of Rhode Island (carried out in electrical tape by James Kuo), it invites, “Put your worries on the map,” and asks, “Is there a place in RI you love?” and is equipped with dry-erase markers.

may map burnside park

That’s an Illuminati pyramid at the bottom. Like all opportunities to write on a vertical surface in public, it gathered its share of apparent irrelevancies that were in fact important (or at least appealing) to the writer at the time of writing.

may map soon to be soldier

People also accepted the first invitation (for worries) …

may map winters shorter

… and the second (for beloved places).

may map galileemay map still house cove

When I explain the booth, which is usually the first part of an interaction with a stranger, I often refer to Rhode Island as “on the coast” as a way of talking about sea level rise and its relationship with storms. It’s just as true to say that the coast is in us–if you look at a more detailed map of the state, you see land and water interlaced like the fingers of two hands.

For the Providence International Arts Festival, special guests Thompson Webb III and S. Hollis Mickey helped design a timeline of notable storms, to which we invited passersby to add storms they remember and storms they fear.

june storm timeline alljune storm timeline 1815

june storm timeline 1938june storm timeline woonsocket

Resilient Rhode Island, among others, stresses the interaction between storms, sea level rise and flooding as major ways Rhode Island is likely to suffer from a warming climate and its effects. Tom brought and showed a picture of post-hurricane flooding on Dorrance Street, a block away from where we were standing.

Visitors to the booth also marked the map.

june map washington st

They drew two kinds of ticks, WBRU (?), a nuclear research site, and ponds they love.

june map 2 ticksjune map mainly ponds

They marked more abstract fears and frustrations, too.

june map bordersjune map dirty and angry

In the right-hand image above, you can see the Biltmore Hotel reflected–the same place that the hurricane image showed with water up to its knees. On the maps, love and fear, preoccupation and distraction interlace, like the water and the land, like the fingers of hands.

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One thought on “Maps of Concern: May and June 2015

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: Providence International Arts Festival, 6/13/15 | climateanxietycounseling

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