WATERWAYS at ConfluxCity

WATERWAYS ConfluxCity Performance at the Williamsburg Waterfront

NY waterways formed 11,000 years ago and have since changed shape and course in response to glacial movement and human development.
WATERWAYS presents a fluid timeline connecting past to present and nature to a city.


Sunday, Sept. 20th, from 1-3 pm, the Waterways group launched the second project action at the Williamsburg Waterfront in the East River State Park in Brooklyn in relation to Conflux city 2009.

The action
This event was formed around a series of site-specific water stories flowing from personal interactions, kinetic experiences, and possible past and future scenarios. A fluid timeline connecting past to present and nature to a city.

Incorporated in the park and city, different actions occurred at different scales:

  • dancers were performing at 3,000 feet, across the river, only to be to be viewed through on site binoculars.
  • at 300 feet, other dancers blended with people enjoying a sunny day by the park beach.
  • at 3 feet miniature glaciers, which could be held in the palm of the hand – was melting, reveling things from the past and the present that is and has been hiding in the water.
  • and yet another place dancers were “swimming” in what might be the future waterline in 50 years.
  • viewers had the possibility of listening to a pre-recorded water score as they were watching the different actions. Or they could choose to engage with the on-site percussionist performing with the sounds of dry ice. (Dry ice is uniquely resonant when the evaporating carbon dioxide interacts with metal).

Apart from the key Waterways group this event was joined and performed by the dancers Carmela Torchia, Irene Hsi and Kristina Skovby.

039 S5000458bReflections:
Sunday the 20th of September was a really sunny and nice day and the park was packed with people in a way that it hadn’t been in the prior weeks, when we had been there to rehearse and plan out this action. Most of the people were in the park just to hang out and not to experience or relate to an art action. And they would just coincidentally stumble upon a strange cardboard fish swimming above water or the sound of the dry ice because they happened to sit or walk close by.

042 CIMG1024They had a brief meeting with something they didn’t expect and then moved on. Some laughed. Some got annoyed that people would stop and face them or stare in there direction, because something was going on right behind were they were sitting. These small interactions were something we didn’t really count on but they turned out to be maybe the best part of the day.

044 IMG_3984Along with the different actions we planed out a structure for viewing them from a center station. But as it turned out the structure didn’t really function the way we thought it would. People viewing from there, were engaging in completely their own ways. Some would stay for a long time just watching the city across the river through the binoculars handed out to them. Others would stay and listen to the different water scores in the headphones. They searched for and found things that excited them. But many completely missed several of the actions we planed for them to experience as part of a whole. In that way the piece ended up being much more open than it was thought out to be from the beginning. And I guess in many ways that lines up with the whole idea of working site specific.

031 CIMG1023You get gifts you didn’t know was there – through the interactions with the given surroundings and you have to deal with surprises – in a more or less controlled way. You never know when a sleeping drunk is in the place where you are supposed to perform. Or a flock of birds have chosen to use the concrete platform you planned to draw on, as their personal bathroom, so you have to clean up bird shit before you can get to it. Basically you need to expect any thing – and I guess that is what is so fascinating about site-specific work. You have to go with the flow and just see where the experience takes you.

– thoughts from Karina



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