Matt Kenyon

Tide is an installation responding to the next American housing crisis: property that has lost its value due to rising water and climate change. This crisis is already part of the lexicon—when someone owes more than a house is worth, people say the mortgage is “underwater.” In 2008, the saying was figurative, but it has become increasingly literal. The symbol that best characterizes the link between these forces is familiar to all of us: the air conditioner. In the recent flooding that struck Matt Kenyon’s hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he noticed whirlpools behind houses that still had electricity. These vortices were created by air conditioners that continued to run even though the homes were underwater. For those most vulnerable to flooding, air conditioning is such a fact of life that its presence almost goes unnoticed. As an artist born and raised in Louisiana, Kenyon has experienced the complexities of the housing situation and its impact on the communities where his family lives. The artist wants to make work about climate change that also honors the resilience of these communities and the dire domestic situations they faced and are still facing, long after the news cycle has moved on.