Thursday, June 4, 2009
Towing supplies on the raft
Today, the three of us used the newly made raft to get supplies via the gowanus canal. We used our raft as a barge, towing it with a Dredger canoe to the Lowes Hardware store which is located down the canal from the Dredger boat house. The whole process was amazingly easy and convenient. The raft proved very stable, and capable of carrying a lot of weight without any problem. Saved us on truck rental as well.
We continued on today, building a second raft, which we will probably use to as the foundation for our Gowanus Water Wheel, and Water Clock. We started building the water wheel today as well. Spirits are good! The collaborators are collaborating. check out the videos and pictures attached from today.
Here is some background on the ideas behind Gowanus HAVEN:
Harbor as Haven
Harbors have traditionally been places where one culture encounters many others. Places of trade and interaction. Places where the traditional rules, and prevailing cultural attitudes don't always apply. In this sense, harbors have been havens for free thinking, and license. Traders, travelers, seamen, criminals, prostitutes, and others who don't quite fit in. This project will capture the dynamics of change and cultural collision in water front areas, in New York (Brooklyn), and Koege (near Copenhagen.)
Shifting economies and social forces have seen harbor and waterfront areas turn into rundown and undesirable places. Artists and others seeking creative living and affordable space filled the gap left by exiting industry. Now, what were formerly unwanted spaces have become desirable to mainstream and well-off people. Once again, social and economic forces are causing change to waterfront areas.
The Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, NY, is a famously polluted industrial waterway running through the heart of the borough out to the New York harbor. For over 100 years, the Gowanus has been the receptacle for many forms of toxic industrial waste and domestic trash and sewage. The filthy waters of the canal were virtually lifeless until recent years. Nothing could survive in the oily black water. The decline of heavy industry in Brooklyn, as well as grassroots cleanup efforts have brought some improvements, however, locals are still afraid of coming into contact with the water. You wouldn't even want to dip your hand into the canal, and the thought of accidentally falling in makes people shudder with disgust.
Gowanus Haven will re-imagine that interaction with sculpture, video and sound installations on and around the banks of the canal, near the Gowanus Dredger boat launch site at the end of 2nd street on the Gowanus Canal. The Gowanus Dredgers have kindly offered us the use of the boat house and access to the waterfront there for our project. The work will be displayed during the daytime, and after dark. NIght time is when dreaming happens, and the artists will take advantage of the cloak of darkness in order to present their unique vision of what is possible on the Gowanus. Katja Jakobsen, Philip Simmons, and Hartmut Stockter will create works that project a possible future for the canal, in which children play in the water, plants and animals thrive in the canal and on its banks, and business and industry conform to safe, environmentally green standards of operation.
Jakobsen and Stockter will travel to Brooklyn, and live and work together with Simmons for 2 weeks to create and install the artwork. A weekend-long exhibition will be the result.