The Waterpod Exhibit Opens at Exit Art

Posted: January 5th, 2010 | Author:

Images from The Waterpod

In the space of imagining multiple possible futures for a greener world, artists have seemed better equipped than scientists and governments to launch projects that inspire the public imagination. People aware of environmental issues seek alternative visions that float between the ground of the practical and the clouds of the fantastical.  The Waterpod was an artist-driven project that attempted to occupy this milieu between the possible and impossible.


Floating Island

The Waterpod was “a floating, sculptural structure designed as a futuristic habitat and an experimental platform for assessing the design and efficacy of living systems fashioned to create an autonomous, fully functional marine shelter.” Characteristically, the project was one part conceptual art, harking to Robert Smithson’s “Floating Island,” mixed with one part sustainability experiment, tracking lessons from The Science Barge (project of NY Sun Works).  The Waterpod also draws on elements of “live in” agit-prop performance art happenings, akin to the recent Camp for Oppositional Architecture, installed over a week as part of Performa09, or living installations, like “Novel” staged by Flux Factory, in which three writers collaborating with architects were enclosed in distinct habitats for thirty days during which they produced work influenced by their conditions.

For those who may have missed the opportunity to visit The Waterpod on its five month voyage — between June and October 2009 — we have a second chance. The retrospective exhibit “Waterpod: Autonomy and Ecology,” will run from January 9 through February 6, 2010, surveying of the journey around the boroughs of New York at Exit Art Underground. “Waterpod” is the sixth exhibition of the SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics) program and includes videos, photographs, relics, art works, journal entries, and ephemera that tell the story of this unusual public art project.

The Science Barge - Groundworks Hudson Valley

The Science Barge - Groundworks Hudson Valley

The Waterpod was produced by a New York-based multinational team, led by founder and artistic director Mary Mattingly, drawing upon the talents of artists, designers, builders, civic activists, scientists, environmentalists, and marine engineers. During a global recession and within strict government guidelines, the Waterpod sought to achieve new ways of community outreach, resource sharing, and art creation.

The Waterpod arose from a reaction to the possibility of widespread climate change, desertification, overpopulation, and rising sea levels, offering a potential path to sustainable survival, mobility, and community building  The Waterpod’s mission has been to prepare, inform, and offer alternatives to current and future living spaces.

The Opening of the exhibit “Waterpod: Autonomy and Ecology” will take place on Saturday, January 9, 2010 from 7pm- 10pm.

Also, the Waterpod is hosting a “Back to Land” party at Exit Art Underground on Friday, January 23, 2010 from 7-11pm with music, participatory edible food performance by Bridget Stixrood, readings and performances by Waterpod members, films, ephemera, new project highlights and much more.

Throughout the exhibit, the Waterpod in collaboration with Exit Art will host a free lecture series. On Friday, January 15, 2010 at 7pm Artist Natalie Jeremijenko, Terreform One, and BLDGBLOG creator Geoff Manaugh will discuss their work in an event; Interactive Architecture: Reinventing Social Spaces.

On Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7pm, Sara Reisman, Director of Percent for Art at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs will moderate a panel discussion with artists Mary Miss and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Jennifer McGregor, Senior Curator at Wave Hill. The discussion will focus on sustainable practices in contemporary art, both in the public realm and in a gallery setting.

Exit Art is located at 475 Tenth Avenue and the corner of 36th Street.

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