Newtown Creek Armada to Sail Miniature Fleet on Polluted Waterway

11/11/2011 8:58 AM |

Newtown Creek in 1939, or contemporary vintage tugboat? (The former.)
  • Newtown Creek in 1939, or contemporary vintage tugboat? (The former.)

As if anticipating The L‘s “Vessels of the Greenpoint Boathouse” imagineering article, and similarly catering to our collective love of strange waterborne vehicles, on Tuesday the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition announced its next commission: The Newtown Creek Armada. It won’t set sail until spring 2012, but here’s what we know about the fleet of camera-mounted miniatures.

The armada will consist of a group of artist-designed miniature radio-controlled boats with underwater cameras mounted to their hulls. Visitors, who will sail the tiny ships from the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the end of Paidge Avenue in Greenpooint, will be able to see the underwater images being captured by their vessel, affording them a view into the toxic sludge without risking mutation. The footage will be collected and, in the fall of 2012, edited and shown in a gallery.

The artists contributing boats are Laura Chipley, Nathan Kensinger and Sarah Nelson Wright, all of whom explore issues of urbanism, environmentalism and industry in their work. We will be very surprised if at least one of them doesn’t make a small boat for the project out of trash found on the creek’s banks.

(Brownstoner; Photo: NYPL)