Confluence: Artists on Water and Change (VIDEO)


Photo by Dylan Gauthier.

In October, 2016, to launch the Field R/D public art initiative, co-curators Mariel Villeré and Dylan Gauthier organized a public boat tour of Confluence, the meeting of two historic rivers at the center of the future Freshkills Park. They invited artists working in the public realm to narrate the trip. The tour convened artists, designers, members of the public, and the regional boating community around environmental issues.

From the Hudson River through Buttermilk Channel, the Kill Van Kull, the Arthur Kill and into the Fresh Kills waterways, the boat tour considered the flows of the city through water, a changing waterfront, and artists as catalysts and contributors to the changing urban landscape. Artists Mary Mattingly, Lize Mogel, and Nancy Nowacek discussed their respective artist-created infrastructure projects and architectural tour guide Arthur Platt, AIA New York contextualized this vein of water-work along the periphery of New York Harbor.

As the boat cruised along the West Shore of Staten Island and into the central creeks of Fresh Kills, Mariel Villeré, Manager for Programs, Arts and Grants for Freshkills Park, discussed the history of Fresh Kills Landfill and its transformation into Freshkills Park, a new “Confluence” situated at one of New York City’s furthest extents, the West Shore of Staten Island. Dylan Gauthier moderated a discussion between the artists and their work spanning food production and waste, citizen infrastructure, and water(front) reclamation.

Confluence is made possible, in part, by funding from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Tauck/Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy, and in partnership with Classic Harbor Line, the Freshkills Park Alliance, and the City of New York.

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