Featuring Paola Rizzoli, Professor of Physical Oceanography at MIT, sopranos Camila Parias and Agnes Coakley Cox, theorbist Nathaniel Cox, pianist Sophia Subbayya Vastek, electronic musician David Ibbett, and narrator Sabrina Sadique.

An event providing perspectives on climate change, the vulnerability of sea-level cities, the power of humans over the sea and our climate, and the complex psychology of safeguarding the environment in the modern era.  A native Venetian, Dr. Paola Rizzoli often speaks of how her career trajectory into oceanography and climate change was inspired by her upbringing in the fragile, coastal city of Venice.  Lectures were interspersed with musical selections drawn from the Venetian Renaissance, as well as contemporary works.

The History of Venice and its Lagoon

Why Does Venice Flood?

Floods and Tears for piano and electronics
(Commissioned for this event)
by David Ibbett

For most of us, climate change enters our lives primarily as news reports, and these are often framed as doom and gloom. Overwhelmed by a flood of dire warnings, we become numb, devoid of emotion, and powerless to act.

How can we change this? I was recently introduced to the field of climate psychology, and the work of Per Espen Stokness. He theorises that, if we frame the facts - of carbon emissions, rising sea levels - not as hopeless, but as encouragements to take small, positive steps, together, we can begin to move in the right direction.

Floods and Tears was born out of this idea of reframing. The opening ‘tears’ for solo piano are sampled live by the electronics and played back continuously throughout the piece. As the music unfolds, the tears are reframed as a lament, a call-to-action, an overpowering flood, a meditation, and a final state of joy - an embrace of earth

- David Ibbett

Protections Barriers: MOSE Project