Gowanus Sketches

Today I’m working on sketches for the Gowanus Shrines workshop, as part of Sea Worthy. Here are a few. These are purely speculative: workshop participants will be the ones to determine the form the shrines will take.

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A full slideshow of sketches and plans will be on view at my show at AIR Gallery.

Sea Worthy Press Release

Seaworthy_Seelie
Tod Seelie, Raft Manhattan, 2008

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Sea Worthy:

An Exhibition, Workshops & Excursions

Presented by EFA Project Space, Flux Factory and The Gowanus Studio Space

Summer, 2011

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Part I: Exhibition on view at EFA Project Space

Exhibition Dates: June 10 – July 29, 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, June 10, 6-8 pm    


Part II: Workshops at The Gowanus Studio Space 

Ongoing: May through July, 2011 


Part III: Excursions brought to you by Flux Factory

Ongoing: July through September, 2011 

 

The EFA Project Space, Flux Factory and The Gowanus Studio Space present Sea Worthy an exhibition and series of public screenings, performances, lectures, workshops and artist-led excursions on the water.  With 72 islands and over 700 miles of coastline, New York City is a formidable archipelago. This project invites discussion about water access, activates the largest open space in the city, and engages maritime themes in contemporary art practice. Sea Worthy brings together artists from here and abroad – in consultation with boat builders, world-class mariners, historians, writers, activists, and ecologists – to make new work about, around, and on the waterways of New York City in the summer of 2011.

Sea Worthy presents work by artists who employ the boat as a platform for collective action, private reflection and liberatory possibility. The sea excursion suggests both an opening and a crisis – the expanse is daunting, uncontrollable, and full of dream potential. To explore this terrain, the artists take to the high and low seas, metaphorically, virtually, and in reality.

More information about Sea Worthy exhibition, workshops, public performances, and excursions can be found here.


Part I:

Sea Worthy: an Exhibition  

EFA Project Space

June 10 – July 29, 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, June 10, 6-8 pm

EFA Project Space presents an exhibition featuring artists who approach water navigation as subject, pushing its potential as a mutable open platform for social experimentation as well as metaphor for personal, artistic, and collective freedom. The show includes installations, models, prints, drawings, photos, videos, and various other musings by artist-seafarers who generously impart their experience of the sea in order to refresh our perception of the land.

Some highlights include:

  • Documentation of Anne Percoco‘s intricate Kilmer Shrines, monuments constructed in honor of sites of some of the under-appreciated drainage systems of New Jersey.
  • A full-scale print by artist, boat-builder, and Tide and Current Taxi pioneer Marie Lorenz, who commemorates abandoned, washed-up boats combed from the shores of NYC by inking and printing in the style of Japanese fish prints.
  • Illustrated plans of Amze Emmons‘s fantasy purchase of a decommissioned British aircraft carrier which he proposes to convert into a community for climate refugees.
  • Jonathan Kaiser‘s Janet II, a personal, portable vessel crafted from salvaged materials, including disassembled chairs and hundreds of plastic grocery bags. The watercraft has transported the artist along foreign waterways and is an artifact of his travels and a testament to the potential of everyday refuse.

EFA Project Space, a program of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is located at 323 West 39th St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10018. Visit us at www.efanyc.org.

For press inquiries, please contact Michelle Levy, Director, EFA Project Space, at michelle@efanyc.org.


Part II:

Sea Worthy: Workshops 

The Gowanus Studio Space

Ongoing: May through July, 2011 

The Gowanus Studio Space is proud to host a series of workshops on boat-building, maritime ventures, and nautical culture. The motivations, fantasies, and processes before a boat is built and sets sail are specific to this genre of fabrication. While the exhibition’s overarching themes use the boat as a metaphor and platform for freedom, the yearning for these freedoms is bred early on in the planning and building stages of these crafts.Workshop highlights include:

  • Artist Natalia Porter leads a Traditional Mexican Trajinera Building Workshop in partnership with architecture students in Xochimilco, Mexico. Once the emblematic watercraft is designed, built, and launched, the artist will host a week of floating dinner discussions on the topic of immigration.
  • Shrines of the Gowanus Canal, with artist Anne Percoco, will guide participants to convert an old boat into a mobile shrine – constructed primarily from scrap material – that will then embark on a pilgrimage along the unique landscape of the EPA Superfund site, the Gowanus Canal.
  • Laurie Churchman & Lisa Hutchinson lead a workshop on the History and Design of Boat Names and Boat Lettering, exploring the cultural history behind personal branding choices in design and typography of names lettered on pleasure crafts. Selections taken from Churchman’s book, BOATNAMES, will chronicle Egyptian times to the present, while boat-letterer Hutchinson gives hands-on experience with signage and lettering techniques.
  • Mare Liberum will lead Shipwrecked, Shanghai’d and Marooned: A Plywood Fleet for New York City. The artist and boat-building collective based in Gowanus finds its roots in centuries-old stories of urban water squatters and haphazard watercraft builders. This workshop aims to construct boats with frames that can be built during a single afternoon using minimal tools and basic building skills.

The Gowanus Studio Space, a workshop for designers, artists, and entrepreneurs, is located at 166 7th St., Ground Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Visit us at www.gowanusstudio.org.

For more information, please contact Benjamin Cohen, Director, The Gowanus Studio Space at ben@gowanusstudio.org.


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Part III:

Sea Worthy: Excursions 

Flux Factory

Ongoing: July through September, 2011

Flux Factory invites the public to sail off on expeditions exploring the waterways of New York on a fleet of seaworthy boats built specially for this project. Ranging from short expeditions to weekend extravaganzas, our voyages aim to educate New Yorkers about the city’s waterways: a formative but easily overlooked part of our experience as city-dwellers.

A Few of Our Events:

  • The Hotel Ms. Nancy is a floating hotel built by Constance Hockaday in the Neutrino tradition, with reclaimed and scrap materials. Moored in the Rockaways, the raft will be open for weekend getaways, complete with fresh flowers and vacancy sign, along with a composting outhouse raft. The artist will also present a site-specific performative lecture.
  • Alalba Eco Tours – led by Gabriela Basterra, Andy Bichlbaum, and Jeff Day – will explore and document the coast of New York City aboard the Alalba, a lovingly restored 50-foot ketch.
  • Artist and boat-builder Jessica Segall will conduct the Procession for Immediate Certainty, carrying her handmade Norwegian faering in a parade across Manhattan to launch in the East River and sail to Queens – accompanied by the release of sky lanterns over the river, in the style of a Viking funeral.

Flux Factory, an arts collective, residency, and non-profit dedicated to supporting innovation in things, is located at 39-31 29th St., Long Island City, NY 11101. Visit us at www.fluxfactory.org.

For more information please contact Georgia Muenster, Exhibitions Manager and Communications Coordinator, Flux Factory, at georgia@fluxfactory.org.


Natalia Porter
Natalia Porter envisions the Trajineras

Participating Artists Include: Michael Arcega, Rachel Bacon; Gabriela Basterra, Andy Bichlbaum & Jeff Day; Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw; George Boorujy; Laurie Churchman; Adriane Colburn; Heather Dewey-Hagborg & Thomas Dexter; Meredith Drum & Rachel Stevens; Amze Emmons; Drew Feuer & Eleanor Lovinsky; Jason Gandy; Richard Haley; Crystal Heiden; Constance Hockaday; Haley Hughes; Sarah Julig, Jonathan Kaiser; Adam Katzman; Marie Lorenz; Ciaran O’Dochartaigh; Anne Percoco; Natalia Porter; Duke Riley; Jessica Segall; Reid Stowe; Swimming Cities,Ocean of Blood; A’yen Tran; Hui-Min Tsen; Emmett Walsh; Ian Warren; Brindalyn Webster; Charles Westfall; the Waterpod; and Chin Chih Yang.

Curatorial Committee:

Jean Barberis, Benjamin Cohen, Dylan Gauthier, Michelle Levy, Georgia Muenster, Kendra Sullivan, and Sally Szwed.

For More Information, contact info@SeaWorthyNYC.org or visit www.SeaWorthyNYC.org.


EFA Project Space, a program of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, is a cross-disciplinary art venue focused on the investigation of the creative process. The Project Space presents exhibitions and programs in collaboration with a diverse range of organizations, curators and artists to provide a comprehensive and critical perspective on creative practices. A major aspect of the program’s development is ongoing outreach to the myriad individuals and institutions effectively shaping culture today.

Flux Factory, established in 1994, is an open artists collective and non-profit artist-run center.  Located in Long Island City, Flux Factory supports innovative and collaborative art works. It is thus primarily an incubation and laboratory space, a forum for experimental collaboration.

The Gowanus Studio Space is a community of artisans – industrial and graphic designers, as well as artists, architects and entrepreneurs – working to encourage cross-pollination between the art and design communities, and support new business and design projects, while making significant creative inroads for individuals and the surrounding community. Located in the historically industrial neighborhood along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, The Studio houses a large industrial arts workshop as well as private studio and exhibition space.

EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Private funding for the program has been received from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.

Flux Factory  is supported, in part, by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Materials for the Arts; and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties.   


Gowanus Shrine Project Proposal

Yesterday I met with Ben at Gowanus Studio Space to discuss a shrine/boat building workshop I will likely lead this summer. (This would be my contribution to Sea Worthy, a boat festival organized by GSS, Flux Factory, and EFA Project Space.) There are people at GSS who are experienced in making and repairing boats and are generous enough to share that knowledge. They also have tons of scrap materials!

Some background: In 2008, I built a network of shrines dedicated to the drainage system near my studio at the time, and then lead public tours. I want to invert this idea of pilgrimage by building a shrine into a boat, which would then visit sites on the Gowanus River. A traveling shrine.

I sent Ben this image and statement today, fleshing out the idea of what the workshop might be like and what would come out of it. The image is a Photoshop collage.

This project will consist of the construction of shrines dedicated to the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal.

In a public workshop at the Gowanus Studio Space, participants will convert a boat into a mobile shrine, which will travel on the canal. The shrine will be constructed primarily from scrap material. Participants will also each make a miniature shrine. These will be installed at locations along the bank of the canal during the boat-shrine’s maiden voyage. Workshop participants will also have the option of designing a ceremony, which might consist of symbolic gestures as well as remediatory actions. The remediation might consist of collecting debris from shrine sites or planting plants that absorb toxic elements in the water. During July and August, there may be repeat voyages, depending on interest. Ideally the shrines will grow and accumulate over repeated visits.

The shrines will function as focal points in the landscape. The main mobile shrine inverts the idea of a pilgrimage: the shrine itself travels to various sites, not just the pilgrims. I intend this workshop and pilgrimage to be an experience during which viewers are given the opportunity to try out an animistic understanding of the landscape and an alternate way of engaging their immediate surroundings.