The Flood Machine


27 January – 20 March 2020

The Flood Machine, is a new site specific commission for The Window Project by Kenji Lim in collaboration with CSA third-year Fine Art student Stepanka Facerova.

The installation examines the long history of human intervention in the Fens and the potential impact of climate change on the landscape.

The collaboration between Kenji and Stepanka focused on research into the potential effects of climate change on the Fens and how rising sea levels could affect this famously low lying area. Researching the landscape’s future also led back to its past, and the symmetry between medieval maps and how the landscape might look in years to come. 

The drawing by Kenji maps the East Anglian Fens in two layers, centered on Ely with Cambridge to the south and the Wash away to the north. The top layer shows all the land at or below current sea level. The layer beneath is the land up to two metres above sea level. This two metre level is below the height of a flood surge, and well within the scope of the most recent predictions of global sea level rise before the end of the century if current trends continue. 

The accompanying video by Stepanka provides material from the present to tell something of the story of a landscape with an ancient past and an uncertain future.

Ely was once an island, and it could be again, ‘surrounded on all sides by sea and Fens’.