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Once upon a time, the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY was a tidal inlet of creeks, marshes and meadows.  Within a century it was canalized and transformed into a bustling industrial ecosystem that fueled Brooklyn’s growth. This led to severe pollution of the waters and a recent EPA Superfund site designation, mandating a massive cleanup. What will the canal become in the future?  Developers are interested in the commercial and residential possibilities of this real estate that lies in the heart of Brooklyn.  Meanwhile, climate change is likely to make the Gowanus Canal a flood zone as experienced during Hurricane Sandy.

The Canary Project is documenting the living ecology of the Gowanus Canal and is inviting NYC artists and students to join us on this mission.  We want to record the present ecology of Gowanus in all three senses proposed by the philosopher and psychologist Felix Guattari, namely:  1) environmental ecology (what we normally think of in terms of ecosystems, flora, fauna, etc.);  2) social ecology (the relationship between groups of people; and 3) mental ecology (the relationship of a single individual to different understandings and iterations of him or herself within a specific place– what Guattari also called the ecology of ideas).  The resulting archive will give a robust understanding of the singularity and specificity of this place as it exists right now.


Full Title:
Field Notes from the Gowanus


Project Websites:
Short Documentary on Project
Gowane (video by Sayler/Morris)

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris

Aron Cohen, Ben Cohen, Dylan Gauthier, Curtis Hamilton, Bland Hoke, Christine Howard, Hannah Kramm, Camilo Leyva, Simonetta Moro, Evan Paschke, Daniella Garcia Rosales, Sayler/Morris, Rebecca Volinsky, Stephan von Muehlen, Louis Wright, Maya Marin, Sasha Wolfe, Abby Marsh, David Hess, Nicholas Liong, Rebecca Mulberg, Emma Pratt, Caroline Reza, Auriel Rickard, Ciara Perrone, Melissa Gutierrez, Daniel Schaefer

Eymund Diegel, Christos Tsiamis. Vivian Gornitz, David Briggs, Maria Aiolova, Dylan Gauthier, Ben Cohen, Nathan Elbogen, Vincent Cianni, Michelle Bogre, Radhika Subramaniam

Exhibition History:
THE OLD AMERICAN CAN FACTORY, Brooklyn, NY,Fieldnotes from the Gowanus, 2012

GOWANUS BALLROOM, Brooklyn, NY, To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel, 2012

SHEILA C. JOHNSON DESIGN CENTER, Parsons – The New School, New York, NY, Fieldnotes From the Gowanus, 2011