Throughout its history the Gowanus has inspired both utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares. The past four-hundred years have witnessed the site’s transformation from a fertile series of tidal wetlands to one of the busiest industrial waterways in the United States. The canal, once a source for sustenance and hope, is today tainted by a notorious legacy of pollution and decay. Yet recent activity in the area suggests rejuvenation is at hand.
TO THE STARS ON THE WINGS OF AN EEL offers a chance to explore the urban unconscious of the Gowanus, to reimagine the past, decipher the present, and envision possible futures. Artists working in the neighborhood––some long-time fixtures, others recent arrivals––are breathing new life into a once stagnant and decaying quarter.