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GALLERY 2010/2011


Drowning NYC


Description of campaign/project


Drowning NYC is a cross-media story; an experimental pilot that is told by actors and through narrative devices that are staged over the Internet and in the public spaces of a few chosen New York City neighborhoods. The genre and the art type are theorized by the artist as being Recombinant Fiction, a political and pervasive form of cross-media fiction.
This project proposes new pedagogical instruments, innovative activist strategies, elaborate media experiments, cutting-edge forms of theatre and cinema, questions about reality perception and construction and, above all, a new form of conceptual art.

The CEO of "Future Water Proof Corporation" plans to economically exploit the rising sea level around New York City. A young man, Jason Gompers, thinks that the people of his neighborhood will be forced to leave because of gentrification caused by the corporation’s new developments to adapt to rising sea levels. He starts to investigate the corporation and decides to form “Future Climate Change Fighters” cells that oppose the CEO’s plans.
The drama inquires into how adapting and/or stopping global warming effects may affect the future of the city, especially in the gentrified and poor neighborhoods. The end of the story is open and intentionally unfinished, allowing audiences to think through and tackle the drama themselves.
Future Water Proof Corporation:
Future Climate Change Fighters:


The fiction brings into existence two fictional NYC characters. Characters speak directly to the audience in first person through media that fit their own personality. The fiction is staged in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Manhattan (Lower East Side Waterfront) and one of the most controversially gentrified (Stuyvesant Town). These areas of Manhattan will be some of the first to be flooded as sea levels rise. The fiction informs the audiences about potential sea level rising in NYC with factual data from official documents released by the city's administration and scientific research (Section ‘What’ of the Future Water Proof Corp's website). Most of the project has been developed in Europe where the artist could infiltrate the Infosphere of the concerned region of NYC by using his laptop to orchestrate all of the media and crew involved in this project.


The characters of the fiction encourage the people of the neighborhoods to react and participate in the story through public interventions, local media advertising and in the social network groups of the local population. In particular, students of a local high school (BHSEC) have become integrated subjects in the fiction by communicating with the characters. Jason Gompers (the hero) entered the school's network on Facebook as a fictional classmate asking their help to save the school from flooding and from Michael Meyer's plans.

Jason's plea to the students of the high school:
Manifesto of Future Climate Change Fighters
with practical suggestions about stopping Global Warming:

Meanwhile, Future Water Proof Corp. engaged the relevant communities by interviewing people about their feelings concerning the sea level rise, informing them that the district will be the first to be submerged and the company is taking care of the situation. Furthermore, Michael Meyer's company has been promoted through posters and postcards left all over the area and in advertisements in local newspapers such as Town & Village and The Villager.
News about redevelopment exploitations to adapt to rising sea levels:

The story informs the audiences about rising sea levels in NYC, and argues that instead of speculating on disasters or trying to adapt to climate change, we should prevent it with concrete shifts to stop the global warming.

to communicate to people usually not politically engaged is much more difficult than engage people that already know the issues of the subject.
but it's much more important than auto-referential political works.


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Entry details


Drowning NYC


Recombinant Fiction

Concept author(s)

Paolo Cirio

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

I did all by myself.





Designer(s) year(s) of birth




Copy author(s)


Other author(s)


Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Nowadays, data fluxes regulate the organization of humanity and its relationship with physical reality. In the Information Age, media can be seen as instrumental to the ordering of the world. Seeing control over the design of information as a prominent cause and cure for most human plights, media unavoidably become the urgent concern of my artistic research. Taking a provocative and edifying approach, I will extend my research beyond a single media and focus on the informational environment created by data flows. Languages and devices employed by the media enter my research as strategies and tactics to explore how the arrangement of information create realities and narratives that design societies and human beings. In conclusion, through manipulation of media, information and communication, my work aspires to educate, inform, investigate, organize and influence contemporary society.