ARTWORK + > Lounging Through the Flood

Lounging Through the Flood, 2019
Jenny Kendler + Jeremy Bolen
100 life ring buoys, vintage lawn chair lounger, aircraft cable and ferrules, Behr outdoor paint in S350-1 “Climate Change”
Approx. 4 x 12 x 12 ft

In our current era of climate crisis, catastrophic flooding events on the Mississippi river—so-called ‘1000 Year Floods’—have become increasingly common. Evoking a madcap vessel built by climate refugees or disaster-wary survivalists—Lounging Through the Flood is a sculpture created to ride these rising waters.

Echoing the white-painted “ghost bikes” placed to memorialize cyclists, the sculpture’s one hundred life rings—which memorialize as many flood events—are also painted white: in this case an off-white with a curious name. The Behr Paint company calls this particular shade ‘Climate Change’—and without irony, suggests it harmonizes with ‘Back to Nature’ and ‘Rain Dance.’

The floating sculpture’s inaugural voyage occurred at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers near Cairo, Illinois—an area which has experienced devastating flooding since the beginning of 2019. After its time at SIU, Lounging will continue to appear—both physically, and as a carbon neutral virtual artwork via the augmented reality app 4thWall—at other sites of fossil fuel infrastructure or flooding: a beacon for both cause and effect.

Emulating cradle-to-cradle strategies, the project trajectory contains its own afterlife. At the conclusion of the sculpture’s travels, the work will be disassembled and each lifesaver printed with a photographic cyanotype depicting—and created using—flood waters. The printed tubes will then be used as props for Extinction Rebellion Chicago’s climate activism before being auctioned to raise funds for flood relief.

Simultaneously occupying an uncanny hope and a recognition of massive systemic failure, Lounging Through the Flood asks us to consider the complex—and particularly American—constellation of apathy and survival, denial and ingenuity which wends its way through our society, rushing towards environmental catastrophe.


Confluence Ecologies : Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers : Oct, 2019

Confluence Ecologies : University Museum at Southern Illinois University : Oct-Dec 2019

Depictions of Living - Art and Activism in the Time of Climate Crisis : Art Pavilion, Mile End : London, UK : Jan 2020

Included in Designing a Disaster-Resilient World by Tao Huang : Published by Routledge

Silverwood Park : St. Anthony, Minnesota : July 1, 2020–June 20th, 2022

Included in Gestalten Publishing's upcoming book Political Art

Included in One Earth Journal : 2021