Photo by Tod Seelie of Swoon’s flotilla on the Hudson River
The first time I heard about Swoon’s first garbage flotilla in 2006-07 called the “Miss Rockaway Armada ” I was very inspired that such an amazing street artist would stretch herself to such a degree as to actually create a series of floating rafts to head down the Mississippi River. The concept was to bring attention to our environment country and art towards a cause of bringing people together and creating new inspiration and relationships. While it seemed like a much needed jolt of entertainment activism through art and inspiration in late ’06 it’s even more needed today during an economic meltdown and environmental degradation.
Swoon’s first flotilla worked sort of but it didn’t make it very far down the Mississippi as some of the rafts sunk but she tried it again. In 2008 Swoon created “Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea” which included 75 artist friends and a crew of collaborators who knew how to make floating rafts. They created a 7-boat flotilla out of salvaged bits of New York City and floated 140 miles down the Hudson River. The amount of people who came out to watch this event and question what exactly was going on clearly meant that her project was working. Once it came to a landing they hosted musical performances spoken word puppetry and other things that got people thinking about salvaged debris the urban detritus of their landscape the environment and relationships with the world.
Photo by Tod Seelie of the Hudson River excursion
Last week Swoon announced her next step called “Swimming Cities of Serenissima ” which includes taking a crew of 35 artists musicians and mechanics (who are much needed for such a project as she’s learned the hard way). They will take a 2-raft performance flotilla to the Adriatic Sea starting in the Karst region of Slovenia where many trees were originally cut for pilings in nearby Venice and where the land still lays quite bare and will float along the northern coast ending in Venice for the Biennale. The flotilla will have stops along the way collecting bits of various pieces found at their stops to add to the cabin. They’ll provide entertainment including music shadow puppetry and stories for those who stop by to see the flotilla. The idea is to push the imagination bring to light our urban landscapes and the environment and create different sorts of relationships as new people encounter the artistic floating performance troupe.
Her trip starts in May 2009.
Swoon is conducting a raffle and collecting funds to make this happen. This could also make for a very interesting sponsorship opportunity. Check it out at www.swimmingcities.org.
Photo by Tod Seelie of the Miss Rockaway Armada on the Mississippi River
Courtesy of Wooster Collective–Swoon’s artwork