Special to the Patriot-Bridge
Now + There Public Art Accelerator Artist Eben Haines premieres Tide House, a provocative, site-specific public art installation in Menino Park along the Charlestown Waterfront. This poetic and thought-provoking work offers a powerful commentary on Boston’s affordable housing crisis and the imminent risk of climate-induced coastal flooding. It will be on view until Spring 2024.
Tide House captures the essence of a typical-three family rentals’ worn entryway, presenting a four-sided structure that seemingly hovers just above the ground. The artwork subtly reveals the marks and impressions left by inhabitants, offering a testament to their presence and history. Enveloped in a layer of non-toxic limewash, the piece initially radiates the grandeur of a stone monument. However, this isn’t a tribute to our past – it’s a call for our future. As the limewash gradually erodes with time, the artwork will unveil its deeper layers, exposing the familiar textures and hues of a space touched by human lives. This evolution calls viewers to recognize the humanity woven into the fabric of housing.
“Tide House is more than just an installation; it’s a living testament to the challenges we face, both from nature and our own societal constructs,” said Haines. “I want viewers to not only see the stark realities of housing instability and climate change, but also to recognize the strength and stories of those affected by them. In creating this artwork, I aim to foster empathy, spark conversations, and inspire collective action towards a more inclusive and sustainable Boston.”
Boston’s architectural foundations lie atop tidal marshes and mudflats, areas that once limited architectural advancements. With the escalating threat of climate change, these areas now face potential flooding, highlighting the region’s vulnerability and its implications for housing. Beyond just shelter, a home is an emblem of the stories and lives it has witnessed. Tide House invites all to reflect on this, emphasizing the dignity everyone deserves in housing, beyond sole protection from the elements.
“The Accelerator Program’s support for temporary public art projects by local artists who are inextricably tied to Boston fosters impactful and memorable art that couldn’t be built permanently,” said Kate Gilbert, Executive Director of Now + There. “Tide House epitomizes this mission, drawing attention to the convergence of housing and climate crises. It encourages us to see beyond the walls of our homes and empathize with the stories and struggles of our neighbors.”
Visitors will be engaged with poignant questions regarding housing and climate change. These prompts will serve as a bridge for shared experiences and community conversations. The community’s responses will be collected and shared weekly throughout the installation’s tenure, promoting an evolving dialogue surrounding the artwork.