Wish You Were Here:
Staging Future Memories for Biscayne Bay

Wish You Were Here—a series of postcards sent from a future Miami that has been devastated by the effects of climate change—reimagines the deteriorating coastal infrastructure of Biscayne Bay as ecological mise-en-scènes that render environmental collapse anew. By 2030, Miami-Dade County’s population will increase by roughly twenty percent, further straining waterfront facilities and ecosystems that cannot support such rapid growth due to their own decay. Consequently, once-in-a-century mass fish death will become a seasonal occurrence and a one-foot rise in sea level will radically reshape the bay’s topography. The only way to catalyze change is through collective action, but building a robust audience around climatic events will require extraordinary graphic strategies to re-present the problem.

This thesis takes viewers on a spatio-temporal journey of the coastline, combining performance with the social interconnectivity of nostalgia to recapture the public’s interest in rising temperatures and sea levels. Working across visual genres including absurdist theatre and vaporwave, the project transforms Biscayne Bay into a massive theatrical production featuring a cast of aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial characters (organisms and machines). Digital renderings recall vintage postcards and show unexpected stagings of remaining interspecific life: unused Carnival cruise ships floating above a dredged seafloor are repurposed as an attraction for reefs, submerged suburban houses accommodate avian and marine residents, irradiated cooling canals are taken over by colonies of damselfish. These possible techno-ecological futures prompt the audience—part-tourist, part-spectator—to revisit a time (now) when climate change mitigation could have been taken more seriously.

Faculty Advisor:
Cyrus Peñarroyo