In this forth post, we return to Swamp City (2021) to highlight its human and non-human protagonists.
Woozy visions of power-hungry architects and opportunistic developers mine the swamp’s enduring appeal as one of the few last remaining “true” ecologies of a burnt-out planet. Featuring a smooth-talking British architect who’s techno-utopian vision of the future features luxury architecture and a hypernatural landscape in the Glades, Swamp City tells a dark tale of the extreme inequalities of disaster capitalism in times of ecological crisis.
An alligator refusing migration rises up against the delusional architect, asking the tough questions that poke holes in his eco-fantasy. Meanwhile, a 3,500-year old Bald Cypress Tree has been resurrected with artificial intelligence and transformed into the neural network of the Park. Responsible for monitoring the jacked-up swamp’s carbon footprint, air quality, and heat index, the Tree can’t escape the pain of her past life. Is the artificial ecology of the park at risk of a full system shut-down?
The Tree character was inspired by The Senator, a 3,500 year-old bald cypress tree located in Big Tree Park, Longwood, Florida. It was the biggest and oldest bald cypress tree in the world. Originally thought to have been struck by lightning, it died in January 2012 in a fire started by a 26-year-old woman trying to smoke meth inside its hollow trunk. Some people still believe the tree is alive today, having allegedly spotted saplings at its base.