People and animals at the bank of the Hudson River on the upper west side of Manhattan will gather with artist Aviva Rahmani as part of “350,” the largest global day of climate action ever. On October 24, 2009, Rahmani will alternately walk to the water and sing Puccinis aria “Vissi darte,” a capella, a song “about beauty and betrayal,” and stop at the shore to draw pictures of the waters, reflecting on “how they are rising in some places under the assault of global warming while in other places, fresh clean water is vanishing.” Simultaneously, people worldwide will be taking up to 4,000 similar actions, from climbers with 350 banners high on the melting slopes of Mount Everest to government officials in the Maldive Islands holding an underwater cabinet meeting to demand action on climate change before their nation disappears.
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
The Free Store in Nassau Street, Manhattan, created by artists Athena Robles and Anna Stein has been creating a stir. It was inspired by a liberal hippie initiative from 1967, the Diggers Free Store which operated under the slogan “Don’t Waste Give To The Diggers”. This time Robles and Stein have created their own Free Store just a few from Wall Street in New York’s financial district.
The idea is simple. Everything in the store is free. You’re encouraged to donate something too, of course. In return for your purchase you’re issued with a receipt that declares no money has changed hands.
“Alternative and generous systems such as bartering have long been used in times of financial hardship,” say Robles and Stein. “Artists, in particular, are familiar with having to be creative to make ends meet and have functioned on generous systems, especially artist-to-artist. Free Store aims to broaden this circle of trust and exchange by including the general public.”
From an economic perspective, it appears a facile response to crisis. Are the artists seriously saying that we should abandon materialist ideas of value? As art though, it’s a playful, optimistic gesture, questioning what we place our trust and value in, especially given the context. With all the vacant store-frontage in our High Streets, even with Wellworths, there’s so much potential to play/do something productive in the dead space in middle of our cities.
Any nominations for best used empty shop?