Foliage

New York’s Waterpod; artists of the floating world

When Radical Nature opened, some critics bemoaned the fact that the exhibition was cloistered away from both the environment it discussed, and the audience that it deserved to reach. EXYZT’s wonderful Dalston Mill project was a clear answer to those critics

In New York, The Waterpod – pictured above – has been slowly circumnavigating Manhattan. Conceived by artists Mary Mattingly and Mira Hunter as a literal platform for art, it brings New Yorkers to the water that surrounds their island. Like Dalston Mill it provides not only a space for performaces, artworks and discussions, but it creates a triangulation between food, community and environment. This live-aboard ark grows at least some of its own food and includes its own henhouse.

For a taste of what it’s like to live and work aboard The Waterpod, try this NY Times article, which reveals that the floating pod was built from a variety of donated materials, including metal railings used in a Broadway production of Equus, and foliage print wallpaper recycled from the US soap As The World Turns.

It’s currently moored at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park but will be moving on to Staten Island after the 17th. Have any readers visited The Waterpod? Did it work?

Photo: thanks to BH301.A7

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Mandalas

Mandala

The phrase “Earth Peace Mandala” sounds awfully alterna-hippie. Brings to mind sage, and barefoot dreadlocked dancing, and the sounds of, say, Phish, or the Dead. Which sometimes is great for the worms, and sometimes is great for jokes.

Artist Veronica Ramirez created Earth Peace Mandalas along the route of the Sustainable Living Roadshow. She does indeed bless the circle first with sage, but she does not dance around barefoot, and she’s not necessarily a Phish fan. What she does create is a gathering space, a place for people to connect with something slow and beautiful, and she does it with foliage and flower cuttings she finds in each city.

There’s much about a big ol’ flower soil mandala that’s not designed for transport: at every city a series of about 12 boxes, tubs and bags were unloaded: pinecones, pebbles, corn and a heart-shaped rock make up the basic elements of each mandala. In contrast, most other gear can be characterized bu the EZ-up: designed to be lightweight, transportable, quick to set up and break down. When asked about her gear, Veronica simply says, “It’s a process.”

Which is the essence of mandala-making: the process. Traditional Buddhist mandalas are created with colored sand, following intricate lined patterns marked out on a level surface. The act of manipulating tiny grains of sand into endless and repeating forms is a kind of mediation in and of itself.The lines in such mandalas depict the four directions, significant gods, portions of legends, and symbolic colors.

Ramirez just uses sticks and petals. As she works, folks stop by, tuning out the music and surrounding carnival to help her pluck petals, strip branches, sift grains and spread them into a circular devotion of the planet. It gives a moment to pause and reflect, and to wonder for a moment at natural processes.

 

 

Go to the Green Museum