New video installation at UM shows human impact of climate change

ANN ARBOR – A new installation at the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities will show the human effects of flooding and climate change through a riveting five-channel video installation.

As part of the institute’s 2018-19 theme Humanities and Environments, “Deluge” will be on view Nov. 9 through Dec. 14. It is the culmination of artist and photographer Gideon Mendel’s 11-year “Drowning World Project,” which explores the global scale, universality and personal impact of recent catastrophic natural disasters.

A Mendel photo of flooding in Brazil. University of Michigan photo.

Since 2007, Mendel has been documenting the impact of climate change through a series of intimate portraits and video footage of individuals who have endured and survived floods. The project has spanned 13 countries, including Haiti (2008), Pakistan (2010), India (2014), Brazil (2015) and Bangladesh (2015), among others.

Documentation of recent floods in Texas, Florida and the Carolinas — the photo above was taken in South Carolina — are also part of the installation.

“I feel as if his work connects us globally,” said Amanda Krugliak, curator and assistant director of arts programming at the UM Institute for the Humanities. “It leads to an understanding that we are all connected, that it isn’t one community or one country that is isolated, that climate change affects all of us. It demonstrates our true responsibility to one another, our responsibility to find collective solutions.”

Photographer and videographer Gideon Mendel. University of Michigan photo.

According to Mendel, “Deluge” depicts a variety of individual stories, positioned with a “synchronous global narrative in ways that are both personally intimate and deeply political.”

The installation, which fully activates Mendel’s work for the first time, is concurrently on view in Jacksonville, Fla., and Houston.

A contemporary photographer, Mendel’s intimate style of image making and long-term commitment to projects has earned him international recognition and many awards. His career has been notable for his engagement with three of the crucial political and social issues that have faced his generation: apartheid in South Africa, HIV/AIDS in Africa and climate change.

An opening exhibition reception and interview with Mendel will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery, 202 S. Thayer St. in Ann Arbor. The gallery is free and open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

More about the U-M Institute for the Humanities. More about Gideon Mendel and his work.

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