27_seawall-stairs-galveston_dsc3776
clair-with-rope-in-marsh_dsc2144
16_jesus-w-dead-live-oak_dsc9242
17_gator-in-the-clouds_dsc1220
10_rope-swing_dsc5621
11_open-vault_dsc4832
4_no-one-gets-hurt-ever_dsc9726
7_gulls-w-tankers-galveston_dsc4086
20_rockefeller-wildlife-refuge-debris_dsc5743
19_portrait-jack-hebert-with-basketball_dsc2093
26_loss-of-wetlands-bulldozed-earth_dsc9797
redo_9_oil-tanks-on-intracoastal-waterway_dsc2015
5_galveston-bay-graveyard_dsc2841
redo_8_flattened-w-borders_portrait-of-craig-guillory_dsc5653
24_are-you-prepared-for-the-next-storm_dsc2355
25_faces-in-the-water_dsc9554
21_burning-field_dsc1041
14_dredging-the-levees_dsc1659
15_bone-pile_dsc1188
redo_2_pipeline-steam_dsc2275
redo_20_final_benny-welch-w-alligator-skeleton_dsc2219
redo_1_memorial-to-the-gulf-coast_dsc8659
cameron-oil-mural_dsc1251
hard-hat_dsc1884
redo_6_lady-of-guadalupe_dsc3235-copy
11_buddha-in-garden_port-arthur-texas_dsc4506
18_burnt-live-oak_dsc5643
statue-w-mossdsc04078
alligator-head-with-2-cats_dsc2212
alligator-heads-covered-plastic_dsc2222
alligator-heads-on-table_dsc2238
building-a-levee_dsc1624
cajun-benny-holding-alligator-skeleton-head_dsc2194
flooded-port-arthur-with-people_dsc04283
fresh-water-salt-water-control_dsc1461
hard-hat-pole_dsc2044
jack-with-laptop_dsc2171
port-arthur-pipeline_dsc2260
racoon-in-tree_dsc1743
rain-gauge-in-canal_dsc1394
red-pipeline-floats_dsc1973
rockefeller-wildlife-refuge-water-gauge_dsc1328
salinity-gates_dsc1722
ViewHide Project Description

Any examination of human-caused natural disasters is so much about destruction, death, and devastation; for artist Judy Natal it is ultimately about recovery, resurrection, and the abiding resilience of humans and nature. It also is about the insidiously hidden political, socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic agendas that create transformations that have profound and lasting effects on the land and the people who live there.

Who hasn’t thought about New Orleans, post-Katrina and been awed, though devastated, by the sheer force of nature fueled by global warming, that so viscerally etched the land with water?  A piece of graffiti that I photographed at a location reclaimed by swamp near Lake Pontchartrain, inspired the project title Another Storm is Coming, and sets the tone for this new work. In March 2013, from the southern coast of Louisiana in Venice, Grand Isle, and Houma, west to the Native cultures of the Coushatta Tribe outside of Elton, to the many individual neighborhoods in the city, the unique characteristics and sheer quantity of water-formed landscapes enticed me further. The points where land and water meet lack any clear hierarchies. Swamps, rivers, river branches, bayous, lakes, basins, coasts, sea, and wetlands, are all in constant flux, mutable and shape-shifting, driven by cycles of increased rainfall and warmer temperatures due in part, to climate change, rise of CO2, and global warming.

In the face of Superstorm Sandy, I had to admit to myself, that my optimistic beliefs that guided my previous future-focused, environmentally driven work Future Perfect – that we would do the right thing and make the right choices – have been rapidly evaporating, replaced by a very visceral, ever-present, anxiety about the future. Another Storm is Coming is a premonition that is a much darker vision of the future. Full of ominous warnings and a steadily escalating sense of foreboding of impending disaster, as the environmental issues become more and more pressing, repetitive, and the need to act more immediate.

The land and water between New Orleans and Houston, commonly referred to as the Energy Coast, literally seems to float as a kind of terra infirma that is liquid and fluidly unstable; a watery mirage drawn by human intervention and land use that persists long after the storm. The land and water uniquely mirror each other, both in human folly as well as human achievement. It has been equally devastated by hurricanes, flooding, loss of wetlands and rise of the oceans, and the ever present reality of disastrous oil spills that devastates animals, ecosystems and humanity equally.

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana and Texas, Judy Natal debuts Another Storm is Coming, commissioned by the Center for Energy & Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS) at Rice University, in collaboration with the architectural group Building Workshop, culminating in a site specific installation of large scale outdoor photographs, two new videos Breathed on the Waters and Storm Redux, and The Library that invites viewers to engage with Natal’s research and artifacts collected over two years, creating intersections of oil, energy, climate change and faith, as part of FotoFest 2016 International Biennial in Houston, Texas.

Opening: March 12, 2016 on the Rice University campus in Houston through April 24, 2016, ANOTHER STORM IS COMING consists of an outdoor installation of large scale photographs, debuting 2 new videos Breathed on the Waters, a heartfelt suite of performances of singing, praying and chanting, entreating the gods for safe passage from hurricanes, and Storm Redux, comprised of oral history interviews of survivors of the succession of devastating hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. For information please contact CENHS@rice.edu

 

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