Learning about Climate Change at the ICA Watershed

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The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Watershed is kicking off its second season with a film installation focusing on climate change.

Commissioned by the ICA, Purple, by acclaimed Ghanaian artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah, the film installation premiered at the Watershed on May 26. Film segments in the exhibition feature disappearing landscapes around the world, from volcanoes in the South Pacific to remote regions of Alaska, which resonate with the Watershed’s marina location.

Purple also includes large-scale map projections of Boston Harbor’s sea levels based on data from the city of Boston’s Environment Department and Greenovate Boston. The maps send viewers decades into the harbor’s potential future, with estimates for 2030, 2050, and 2070. Reports estimate that the waterline will advance; the city is already proposing ways to adapt, such as protected and floodable waterfront parks, harbor barriers, and resilient building design.

The ICA Watershed, a 15,000-square-foot space in a working shipyard in East Boston, was previously an unoccupied copper pipe and sheet metal factory. The ICA spent $10 million to renovate and revamp the space for its grand opening last July. It’s a 40-minute public transit ride from the ICA’s main building and an 8-minute water shuttle ride.

The aim of the Watershed is to bring together history, contemporary art, and civic life in Boston, according to the museum. The space emphasizes inclusion and community, with bilingual staff, text in English and Spanish, free admission, and a wide variety of activities.

Purple will be on view through early September. Keep an eye out for additional Watershed events throughout the summer, including talks, markets, live music, and more.

The ICA Watershed is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. The Watershed is a 10-minute walk from Maverick station on the Blue Line; the water shuttle from the ICA to the Watershed is complimentary with a general admission ticket, but space is limited, so reserve online in advance. Entry to the main ICA is free for BU students with a valid ID. The ICA is accessible from the Silver Line Courthouse Station.

COM graduate student Lindsey Vickers can be reached at [email protected]; follow her on Twitter at @lindseyvix.