Christina Kelly: Sweep

I met with Christina Kelly last week to talk about our two Gowanus projects.

She is growing broomcorn next to the Gowanus, actually at my “Site 1”. I saw it there before, but I didn’t know it was hers!

She says the growing is almost finished, and she’s bringing a craftsman in to make the corn into a traditional-style broom. The sculpture will be an artifact of a season of  cultivating the material.

Additionally, through all the flooding and hurricanes, she discovered that as water drains into the canal, the corn acts as a sieve, catching debris and preventing it from entering the canal…just like a broom.

This is all very exciting to me. It embodies a lot of the same processes and values that my shrine project does … paying consistent attention over time, a marriage of symbolic and practical action, and an emphasis on the source of one’s material …

It’s also a beautiful echo of Agnes Denes’s “Wheatfield”.

Gowanus w/ Lily

Yesterday Lily and I went out in a Dredgers canoe.

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The tide was pretty high, and the water seemed a bit clearer than usual. Two shrines were completely missing: one of the golden domes and Helen’s felt yurt, and we couldn’t locate Florence’s wire construction. But the first tiny shrine, the lean-to, Helen’s hanging shrine, and the other dome are in good shape! We left several colored bottle caps and some other items and added a few rocks here and there. We saw three cats hanging out by the water, which surprised me!