The ocean is a major resource for Rhode Island, it’s not called the Ocean State for nothing. So sea level rise is a vitally important issue for our area and according to local researchers, our coastline will change dramatically in the coming decades.
As a result of climate change, the new projection for sea level rise in Rhode Island is nine to eleven feet. The impacts on Rhode Island could be devastating, and we’re already seeing some of the impacts. Flooding on extremely high tides is becoming more and more frequent, and that flooding is only made worse during storms.
This project aims to create a visual archive of Providence, Rhode Island. At three locations on the coast line I have placed USB drives that have been waterproofed and cast in concrete that each contain photographs taken from the exact location of the USB drive. The photographs (50 on each drive), along with a text file translated into eight different languages explaining the device’s function, are stored only on these drives and will never be printed, published, or put online: they exist only where they were initially made. In order to see what Providence looked like at that given moment, you must still physically travel to the location with a device that will read the USB drives.
The lives of the USB drives are finite. Despite their waterproofing and concrete casing, these drives will degrade over time and cease to function: they too, just like the Providence shore line, have their own mortality. There are no plans to service or repair the devices. Thusly they become a symbol of our actions towards our planet in the last century. Without proper care, they will of course lose their information and become defunct.
With each image on this page are the exact coordinates at which the USB drives were dropped along with a photograph of them in the landscape. This information is offered as a map for those who so desire to travel and find the drives for as long as they exist: to compare the past and present side by side.