Oyster-tecture of a New York Coastline

January 22, 2013 | Eugene Reznik

“Oyster-tecture,” a 16-foot digital collage by environmental architect Kate Orff and the firm SCAPE, envisions New York harbor as part marshland, part mollusk paradise. The work, among those on view in a new group show of 10 extradisciplinary artists and cultural innovators at the National Academy Museum, proposes an inexpensive, efficient method for bracing against higher sea levels, pollution and stronger storms of the future. The solution: developing more coastal wetlands and nurturing habitats for oysters–which are pretty much nature’s Brita Filters. Also, more space for boardwalks and everybody starts wind surfing!

According to the exhibition catalogue:

Hers is a significant shift in the way conservation projects and bioremediation are considered: not through large entities and conventional infrastructures, but through an approach that looks to methods of the past that are manageable, inherently feasible, and, most importantly, unquestionably sustainable.

Orff, who collaborated with photographer Richard Misrach on the book Petrochemical America last year, explains bioremediation and how oyster populations naturally filter out pollution in this TED talk.

“Seismic Shifts: 10 Visionaries in Contemporary Art and Architecture,” Group Show, Jan 31-May 5, National Academy Museum, Opening Jan 31 11am-6pm