WetLand by ANI New Media

WetLand: a documentary by Tom Newman.


WetLand is partnering with the University of Pennsylvania's Program in the Environmental Humanities and Bartram's Garden. WetLand is docked on the banks of the Schuylkill River at Bartram's Garden and is used as a space for classes, residencies, and public programming.

WetLand's floating edible gardens, a collaboration between UPenn's EH fellows and Mary Mattingly) and floating wetlands (a collaboration between Bartram's Garden, Karla Stingerstein, and Robinson Yost) will begin to take form at Bartram's Garden in the Spring/Summer of 2017.

About PPEH: PPEH is led by Professor Bethany Wiggin. It aims to generate knowledge appropriate for this time, which many natural scientists call the Anthropocene, the Age of the Human. Our era of rapid climate change calls for new forms of knowledge creation bridging the sciences and the humanities, the natural world and the human. Penn intends to be among the leaders in this field, and is seeking active engagement from our undergraduate students.

About Bartram's Garden: Bartram's Garden is the oldest surviving botanical garden in North America, covering 46 acres and includes an historic botanical garden and arboretum (8 acres, established circa 1728). The garden is near the intersection of 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, in Philadelphia.


Art is integral to imagining new worlds. A floating sculpture, WetLand resembles a partially submerged building that integrates nature with urban space. The interior contains a living space, workspace, and performance space. WetLand’s overall ecosystem includes rainwater collection and purification, greywater filtration, dry compost systems, outdoor vegetable gardens, indoor hydroponic gardens, and floating gardens circling the perimeter.

Attention to the social and environmental impacts involved in material production, distribution, use, and disposal are important to the formation of WetLand, which was built entirely from the urban waste stream. WetLand augments local community movements by attracting a broad range of people with different backgrounds to the space, and by organizing collaborations. WetLand stresses how important it is for more people to be involved in caring for our common home and to re-address water as a commons by engaging with students who steward the space, collect data relating to energy use and production, and test and maintain the project’s water systems. WetLand sculpture is an argument for a thriving local urban environment.