Freshkills Park: A new beginning

For the last two years Freshkills Park has invited the public to come take a "sneak peak" full day tour of the transformation that has been taking place over the last ten years at the largest landfill site in the world. On Sunday, October 2nd this New York City park project offered free water taxi rides direct to the site from Pier 6, a one hour journey past miles of industrial sites, some still in production, far from the eyes of Manhattan. At the park were temporal art installations and science booths as well as guided walks, kayaking, and Mierle Ukeles' famous The Social Mirror garbage truck from the late 1970s.

ecoartspace was recently invited to jury an upcoming design competition at Freshkills, a collaboration of the Land Art Generator Initative and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. One of the goals of the park is to site large scale public art works. Elizabeth Monian and Robert Ferry of LAGI, who have been focused on energy based artworks in recent years out of Dubai, proposed an ideas competition for 2012. Contestants are invited to identify public art works that will harness energy from the site and convert it to electricity for the utility grid, in addition to providing conceptual beauty.

Freshkills consists of 2,200 acres, almost three times the size of Central Park. It is the largest park to be developed in NYC in over 100 years. The park is meant to be a "symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape." It will continue to be built out in several phases over the next 30 years and includes an unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty with creeks, wetlands, meadows and spectacular views of the New York City.

The monetary prize award of $20,000 will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.


GreenHomeNYC's DIY Green Block Party

Saturday, October 1st ecoartspace had a booth at the annual GreenHomeNYC DIY Green Block Party in Brooklyn. This is something that we rarely do anymore, not that we don't want to, there is just only so much you can do. We presented prints, books and artworks, and had many interested buyers for our political posters by JustSeeds:Resourced series. Although, the rain came in the early afternoon, so we called it a day early. The biggest draw was Tattfoo Tan and his hen called 5p.m., one of 5 chickens he currently has at his home on Staten Island. It was amazing how many people were stopped in their tracks having realized that they were in the presence of a chicken! Grown men who remembered having cared for hens when they were boys were drawn in and reliving their childhood. Children were cautiously curious and their parents intrigued with the idea of urban chicken farming. Tattfoo was on hand to give advice on the logistics of having chickens within the city limits. The most common question all day was "is it legal to have chickens in the city." The answer: Yes. But, only hens, not roosters (for obvious reasons, they are too noisy). It would be great to do more events like this to share the work of ecological artists at green events. However, this is where we need help, to identify funding for creative education programs! It is important to pay artists for their time.

Here is a short video showing you where Tattfoo's hens live on Staten Island: