High-Water Mark is a multimedia, regionally specific installation by Boston-based artist Yu-Wen Wu, curated by Kristina Durocher, Director, Museum of Art of the University of New Hampshire.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Wu’s family immigrated to the United States soon after the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Her experiences as an immigrant have shaped the themes of her work: examining issues of displacement, movement, assimilation, culture and identity. High-Water Mark focuses on rising sea levels, storm surge flooding, and the projected displacement of people who live in the New Hampshire and Maine sea coast region. The exhibition video and a large-scale wall drawing represent the wanderings of someone new to the region, a visitor surveying the landscape, city, and its surroundings with fresh eyes – Wu is the proverbial migrant, making connections between natural and built environments, cultural systems, and seeing relationships between past and present that will help us navigate an unfamiliar ecosystem and an environment in flux.
While relying on hard data and scientific research practices, Wu’s visualization of data—video, maps, and graphs—is a metaphorical reading of a changing environment, incorporating filmed scenes of the tidal waters of the Piscataqua River, sites along the North and South Mill Ponds, coastal wetlands, and sky, emphasizing the aesthetic experience over narrative characteristics. Viewers will come away with an impression and awareness of the impact of rising sea levels on the Portsmouth region.