All over the world, the coastlines have always been in constant transformation. The difference in contemporary times is the speed with which this occurs. In some places, erosive processes that used to take hundreds of years to happen can now be witnessed in just one generation. Most of the rapid transformation we see today is related to climate change caused by human-induced excessive exploitation of the planet and its resources. Atafona, a small town located in the delta of the Paraíba do Sul River, is one of those places where time seems to run faster. Characterized by a continuously changing environment, the city unveils the action of time in contemporary society and the crisis between humans and nature.
In the past decades, the sea has been rising and submerging the small town producing hundreds of environmental migrants. Its dunes conceal about 400 buildings, including public spaces, residential blocks, a hotel, a gas station, and a church.
A group of factors that include sea level rising and the disastrous human interventions along the river, made Atafona the most significant case of coastal erosion in Brazil. The river supplies Brazil’s largest cities (around 14 million people) and the hydric deficit at the estuary caused by human exploitation is the main factor behind the erosion as the weak water flow is no longer able to secure the balance with the ocean, replenishing sediments and counteract the invading sea.
This project is a visual exploration of the complex relationship between a community and its environment, that is at once intimate and ruthless, defined by dependency, melancholy, and starring characters either coming to terms with what has passed, awaiting the next deluge.
Copyright foto: © Felipe Fittipaldi