Joe Habben

Close of Play (2022)
In Moleca (2019)
Contested (2018) Interventions (ongoing)

Selected Works
Various Projects


For portfolio enquires, contact:

© All Rights Reserved. Joe Habben 2023

In Moleca documents the fragile co-existence between Venice, Italy and its surrounding aquatic environment.

The project focuses on the Acqua Alta (high-water) which transpires annually in the city. This tidal activity is a natural occurrence, however in recent decades has been exacerbated by the effects of human activity. Mass-tourism, global warming, urban expansion and industrialisation are damaging factors which have influenced the deterioration of the Venetian lagoon, leading to the increasing tide and subsidence of the ‘floating city’.

On the 12th of November 2019, tides reached 187cm, submerging 85% of the city in water, nearly reaching the unprecedented record of 194cm of the infamous ‘Grande Alta’ which took place in 1966.

The surreal prospect of rising sea levels is often scrutinised, particularly through the reportage of the media, however the images in this series are a reality for Venetians and many coastal inhabitants of the global south. These issues aren’t just a Venetian problem, but a global problem. Venice is one of many coastal cities at the forefront of what the future holds if nothing is done to decelerate the effects of the climate crisis.
A controlling hold over the city; mass-tourism brings 30 million visitors to Venice every year. Many locals have been frequently asked where the ‘exit’ to Venice was or what time it ‘closed’, with some likening it to a theme park. Tourism nonetheless, is not the root-cause. System change is needed in order to tackle climate change; a saying that resonates among local activists opposing the issues in Venice.

Exploring issues caused by human intervention; this series highlights the tender balance between urban inhabitants and the environment. Venetians have co-existed with their surrounding landscape since 421AD. In Moleca aims to question how cities like Venice can harmonise this interdependent relationship and adapt to the age of the Anthropocene in an increasingly globalised world.

A photograph from this ongoing-series was awarded the Earth Photo: Climate of Change award in 2020.