August 28, 2009
Speech prepared for Bloomberg’s arrival to the Waterpod
and Atlantic Salt Company:
The Atlantic Salt Company has been a wonderful, inviting harbor
for us, and we know it will remain so for decades to come.
It has been a magical and wondrous privilege during our short
sojourn here to witness the ongoing evolution, reconstruction,
and beautification of this landing place.
The Waterpod could not have happened without the generous
and energetic help of cores of supporters, including the Mayor’s
Office, the City of New York, the NYC Department of Parks
and Recreation, the NYC Dockmaster Unit, our legal counsel
Blank Rome, GMD Shipyard in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, and dozens
of foundations, corporations, and individuals, not the least
which have been artists, scientists, engineers, and volunteers.
They say that the first recorded European contact with Staten
Island was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazano, and all of us
have been truly blessed by its Dutch and British successors,
as well as the rich fabric of recent arrivals on these shores.
Our main purpose and objective in this venture has been collaboration,
innovation, recycling, transformation, self-sufficiency, resourcefulness,
learning, curiosity, human expression and creative exploration.
I am not exaggerating when I say that we are deeply grateful
to the citizens and government of Richmond County for augmenting,
catalyzing, and affirming our mission and our voyage. -Mattingly<top>
Sunday, July 11, 2009
life on the Waterpod:
6:30 am. Feed the four chickens, clean the coop
7:00 am. Water the gardens, prune gardens, make coffee
7:30 am. Have breakfast
8:00 am. Clean the deck, put things away, prepare for the
9:00 am to 11am. Personal work (one rotating person giving
tours on Thursday and Friday)
11:00 am. Meeting: Work for the day and for the future
1:00 pm. Work on Waterpod and give tours
3:00 pm. Feed chickens
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Waterpod personal work
7:00 pm. Prepare dinner, evening tasks
8:00 pm. Eat dinner, clean up, water gardens
9:00 pm. Free time: Read, Email, do artwork
Working on a sustainable cycle:
Capture rainwater with a first flush system that collects
from the different structures and drains into a potable tank.
Water is pumped via bicycle and solar to a purification system
and a 55 gallon potable drum at mid-level on a crows nest.
When we need to use it, it is gravity fed to a sink and shower
at 4.5’ high. After use, that water enters a greywater
purification system: a series of seven 4’ bins with
different irrigation materials including gravel, sand, and
freshwater plants. At the end of the seven-bin cycle, the
water can be reused to water the gardens. The gardens grow
a variety of different vegetables and fruits, and four chickens
have been producing roughly 3-4 eggs a day. We have begun
Since this project takes place inside and off of the grid,
we have been surprised with the number of gifts given to us
at both the South Street Seaport and Sheepshead Bay (since
we began living on board). Captain Jack Schachner of White
Cap Marine Rescue Services Inc. came to the Waterpod on Friday
morning with a 4x 4’ fish cage. When fish are put inside
the cage, the cage is kept under water until we are ready
to take them up to eat them. Later that evening, Captain Jack
returned with his red tug and put seven fish, caught that
day, into the cage. The next day an interested couple came
by and taught us how to kill, skin, and prepare the fish to
be eaten. Not two hours ago, a woman asked us what we needed
if she came to visit us again. She returned a few minutes
later with a bag of ground coffee. These moments of physical
gifts or emotional gifts (whatever the reaction of a person
who comes on board), given to us, in exchange for gifts that
we attempt to give back with this project, and after, I hope
will help start many chain reactions. The gift elements have
all been a surprise but have all increased the wellbeing of
our spirits and systems on board (a woman in Tribeca brought
us a homemade worm box that we have been using to create compost).
Compost is a big part of the system. The chicken and scrap
food compost is extremely useful to replenish soil nutrients
after a harvest.
Since we are starting with seeds grown this year, we would
ideally give ourselves another year to can some of the first
harvest to use in times when the next cycle is growing. We
would also need to make the gardens into a greenhouse.<top>
Sunday, June 28, 2009
For the last couple of months we have been working nonstop,
we had a remarkable build out period, where over 30 volunteers
started vegetables in their apartments or at their schools
for the project and helped us build out the Weeks Marine Barge
at the GMD Shipyard. We worked nonstop, from sunrise to well
after sunset on the build out, while continuing a rapid succession
of meetings, paperwork, and contract finalization.
With the momentum of the past few years, we knew that everything
has needed to come together rapidly in the last few months.
My goal was to do as much pre-building, pre setup, pre scheduling
as possible so that we could have a rich, full events calendar
at each pier, and an easier build out time at GMD Shipyard.
When we arrived at the GMD Shipyard, there was still a lot
of onsite work to be done. When it wasn’t pouring rain,
we could pull together a good group of volunteers on the weekends
to assist in the build out, and we worked nonstop. The folks
at GMD Shipyard also volunteered their time to help us with
welding, craning, and other resources.
Ken Hollenbeck came on board as an advisor and fundraiser,
hosting an event at 5 Ninth in the meatpacking district, where
we were able to fill the restaurant with supporters, and thank
everyone for working with us to make this project happen.
We raised $45,000 that night through the kindness and generosity
of groups like The Richard J. Massey Foundation for the Arts
and Sciences and The Charles and Lynne Klastskin Family Charitable
Believing in the initiative, John Toscani of Frenkel and a
few very supportive underwriters including RLI helped us obtain
all proper insurances so that we would be able to have the
coverage needed to have public on board throughout the Waterpod’s
tour. Glen Oxton and Richard Singleton of Blank Rome worked
tirelessly with us completing city contracts, permits, and
giving counsel on everything, from insurance to the politics
we have found ourselves involved in.
When our locations were mapped out and sequentially ordered,
Miller’s Launch came on board to offer pro bono towing
to the Waterpod as it goes about its dilatory course. Miller’s
Launch is a company working on the forefront of new fuel technologies
and green energy.<top>
May 5, 2009:
Waterpod is simultaneously an intervention and a gift, brought
to life by a collaborative group of forward-thinking artists,
designers, and activists working with numerous companies,
groups, and communities on a pro bono publico or
“"for the public good"” basis to create
a space that is both an inclusive public resource and an experimental
private dwelling, an interior and exterior malleable space,
an aquatic and terrestrial mobile hybrid.
This project is a work in progress that demands simultaneous
creative engagement of producers, designers, builders, visitors,
residents, and guests. The design of Waterpod is made
up of a mode of social, political, and ecological actions
and engagements that describe mobility, autonomy, and relational
freedom while respecting water, nature and natural systems.
Waterpod is an expression of collective decisions and intent,
based on available resources, trial and error, as well as
an object and a space that continues to be negotiated through
democratic participation and implementation. We are aiming
to launch June 1 from South Street Seaport.<top>
Saturday, March 14, 2009:
A busy few months. The original platform donated to the project
had structural damage, so we were back to the drawing board.
Through the efforts of collaborators like Dockmaster Carnesi,
we have secured another platform through Sea Wolf Marine.
It is less than half of the size of the first barge, but under
ten years old and in great condition.
Carissa Carman has been busy working with preexisting networks
and setting up new networks of urban farmers, to begin growing
fruits and vegetables for Waterpod.
Lonny Grafman's Engineering 215 Class at Humboldt State University
has been constructing water filtration systems, bicycle powered
water pumps, turbines, a hydroponic garden, and a composting
toilet. Lonny will be in New York this Monday for the week,
while his classes are on their spring break.
Tim Corrigan and R. David Gibbs have planned and are beginning
to acquire and implement a power system that will support
our daily lives with electricity for charging equipment, kitchen
use, art installations, water pumps and purification systems,
with reserve battery power for events.
Tressie Word is designing a natural, vertical greywater system,
and will be in New York for a few weeks in the beginning of
We are planning our docking schedule with the NYC Department
of the Mayor Special Projects, and working out the insurance
Derek and Mira moved here from Vancouver, what, a month or
six weeks ago? It's been a time-warp, and we are so glad that
they are permanently here. We have redesigned the surface
area of Waterpod to fit the smaller platform, worked on building
infrastructure and have been plodding away with work,a lot
of it too tedious to really mention here. The process is entirely
interesting, but is constant slow motion.
The platform should be in place around April 15, and we will
begin the build out. Prior, we have a space in Long Island
City to prefab the structures.<top>
Friday, January 30, 2009: We are about to
To date,the Waterpod exists as more than just a project proposal
entirely because of the collaborative methods and spirits
of many groups and individuals, and the help of in-kind donations.
As people slowly realize that even before the Gold Standard,
currency has basically been a speculative concept based in
little of any usable value, we learn that natural resources
need to be protected, not portfolios, and barter, trade, and
equivalent systems are going to be more and more important.
As nations become more national, people will revive hibernating
community inclinations from the bottom up, and it will be
necessary to create micro-localized trade systems. We have
worked to secure donations of everything, from trucks of soil
to the platform itself, which is 240x70x15' in size. As the
platform expanded, so did our team, and it continues to.
This month John McGarvey and I have been meeting with city,
state, and federal officials to see this project through,
and that is definitely one of the interesting parts for me
- learning how to navigate waters in a city like New York
is a challenge in itself, as we come across more and more
red tape (nothing we weren't expecting), and delve deeper
into the threaded workings of New York City's many departments.
Also, I spent a good amount of time this month in the hospital
again. I went into the hospital at the beginning of the month
for an operation, and in an early stage of my recovery we
decided it would be necessary to change the launch date to
May 15, but because of the important significance of May 1,
our preference is still to launch then.
Working with the NPS Task Force (Operation Clean Bay) is one
of the many things that we have found we can do to help the
NYC Waterways, and peoples' general awareness of our delicate
ecological systems (over 1000 boats have been dumped by their
owners in the Rockaways alone), some of which we are only
just being made aware. This cycle of learning, doing, and
passing on is like gifting. I receive something from you and
pass its likeness on to someone else.
Lately, John, Cory, and I have played roles in city council
meetings alongside the NPS and the Dockmaster Unit of NYC,
affecting awareness of the New York Waterways at the city
and state level.
Dockmaster Carnesi, John, and I met with the NYC Office of
the Mayor, the DCA, EDC, and proposed the Waterpod as a space
where multiple collaborations would take place, a space dictated
by the community and by the rules that we impose on ourselves,
guinea pigs for our not-so-distant future?
With the help of Carissa Carman and her team, we are designing
living systems (from scratch) that will support 4-5 permanent
dwellers and occasional guests. An integrated garden that
combines herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers with vertical
garden technology, lo-fi D.I.Y. hydroponics and some green-walling,
we expect to be able to produce sufficient food with left-overs.
We are exploring the option of a mobile chicken coop on board.
(As I mentioned, I was in the hospital at the beginning of
the month. I learned then that I have Celiac Disease, meaning
my body cannot absorb gluten, so my eating options are limited
when it comes to American fare. The eggs suddenly became very
important for me.) It seems very likely.
I am interested in exploring these areas further:
- Food, community, social systems, barter and gift economies,
housing, and mobility of Waterpod
- Blending the role of artists / architects
- Not allowing myself to leave the barge for the duration.
This forces me to focus on certain things that I have been
putting off for too long, and forces me to live like we will
probably all need to live sooner or later.
- Being around the action of a metropolis, but as a viewer,
expanding my point of view of the present presence of this
city and its surrounds, expanding others points of view through
December 12, 2008: Letters between Mary Mattingly and North
Shore District Ranger John Daskalakis.
Dear Mr. John Daskalakis,
I want to thank you and your team, and especially Mr. Ralph
all of his help and dedication to the Waterpod project. The
Waterpod is a
city-wide project that will encompass artistic ideas, scientific
sustainable concepts, community learning, lectures, tutorials,
festivities on a structure made largely from recycled and
It will launch in May 2009, alongside the Hudson Quadricentennial
Through the assistance of the Parks Department, we have been
able to begin
collecting materials from the sunken vessels that The Task
rescuing from the waterways. We then plan to recycle and remake
the vessels into new structures. These structures that will
make up the
public spaces on the Waterpod barge.
Ralph Mannetta has kindly given us his time, shared his expertise
New York waterways, and helped us with logistical concerns.
Ralph Mannetta and Dockmaster Frank Carnesi, we have been
able to obtain
some much-needed infrastructure to work with the sunken vessels,
disassemble them, and store them for reassembly in the Winter
of 2009. We
plan to make the sunken vessel problem a large part of our
We are sincerely grateful for all of the help that Ralph
has given to make
the project a success, and are very glad that due to Ralph
Carnesi the scope of our project has expanded. When we began,
we were not
aware of the extent of the sunken vessel problem!
The kindness and generosity that we have found through your
Team, the NYC Mayor’s Office, and Dockmaster Frank Carnesi,
fantastic spirit of this city!
Thank you very much, John Daskalakis!
Dear Ms. Mattingly,
I appreciate your efforts in education and learning, and
am pleased you
will be able to focus the public's awareness on the issues
derelict vessels and debris that we find in our waterways.
I think it is
important that we all think of creative ways to engage the
public - I
cant think of a more vivid way to get at this one issue than
boats and debris to use as a tool to enlighten. We are all
excited to see
the Waterpod barge this May.
Thank you for the kind words. On behalf of the National Park
our team, I am glad we could help.
December 4, 2008: I have been invited to construct a series
of maquettes similar to the ones Mary Mattingly and I first
made for the development of the Waterpod™ project, to
be displayed as part of the 5th
World Water Forum which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey,
from 16 to 22 March 2009.<top>
November 18, 2008: We have a barge, thanks to one of our gracious
benefactors. Eve K. Tremblay is working from Berlin on the
Seed Salon Scenario, I am meeting with the Istanbul MOMA to
discuss a possible exhibition before heading out on a tour
through Switzerland and the Middle East, while Mary Mattingly
is in New York generating more architectural sketches, updated
with the new barge proportions. It is currently docked in
Queens and Cory Mervis says that it is almost as big as a
football field. Derek Hunter is on his way to NY next week
to begin transforming it into a sustainable floating world,
an exhibition space and an exhibition about the future of
May Day, 2008: Mary, Eve, Cory, John and I met in the morning
at PS1 with Douglas Cohen from The Educational for Sustainable
Development/National Youth Alliance, to discuss collaborative
projects and funding ideas. We walked to the docks looking
towards Govenor's Island. We filmed interview segments in
preparation for this evening's Newtown Creek Beta launch.
Doug was wonderful, I invited him to sail with me to the Queen
Charlotte Islands, off the coast of British Columbia.<top>
April 30, 2008: Cory, Mary and I met at noon at the National
Arts Club near Gramercy Park in Manhattan, to view a room
to potentially host a Waterpod™ fundraising event on
June 26, 2008. The space was perfect, gorgeous and eccentric.
Alden James, the club president, and the wonderful program
director Steve Mascatello, took us up to the 2nd floor to
see the grand resident Raven. In the afternoon, Eve joined
us (Eve and I had not previously met) at Mary's LMCC studio.
We photographed eachother for the Waterpod™ website,
and prepared for our May Day performances and interviews.
April 25, 2008: I return to New York for the Launch of Waterpod™
Beta. While attending the Mary's LMCC open studios, I am introduced
to the new floating island, where I will be performing for
the May Day exhibition. The Montreal based artist Eve K. Tremblay
will also be joining us. The week will be spent re-designing
the website , and producing plans for the future of the project.
March 20, 2008: Cory Mervis, David Darst and I met
with Paula Berry, head of the Hudson Quadricentennial Celebration
March 4, 2008: Eve and I met with the Gouvernement du Quebec
to solidify plans to traverse the waterways of New York and
head up to Lake Champlain. The next day we met with David
Bruson from MTV.
February 29, 2008: I
had a second meeting with Creative Time regarding the project
and help they can give. Met with Shane Brennan, he will curate
a digital ecological project on board.
February 27, 2007: Cory and I hit the pavement in Queens and
Greenpoint in search of a barge. We found out about some illegally
moored barges, some in need of repair, and learned a bit about
the New York dockmaster.
February 16, 2007: Cory, Leslie, David and I met with Jim
Hallogan and Larry Harvey in San Francisco to discuss the
Waterpod and surrounding ideas.
February 19, 2008: Eve K. Tremblay and I met about her involvement
in the Waterpod.
February 2, 2007: Patrick and I met with Peter Hort about
22, 2008: Cory Mervis officially came on board as the third
member of Waterpod! Check her out in projects like "Voter
Drive" 2004, and "Astor Place Imagined" 2007.
She is amazing.
December 20th, Patrick Callery came on board!
Friday, December 14, 2007: David
Darst, Leslie Bocskor, Mei Yee Croll and I met with the Mayor's
office and the Department of Cultural Affairs.<top>
November 1, 2007: Mattingly and Hunter are invited to submit
collaborative sketches of Waterpod™ Project to: Greener
Sessions Art Exhibition: Sketching Solutions for Climate
Change, Venice, CA. Nov 17/07 - Dec 8/07
'While the manifestations of climate change rock the
world, Venice, California has something to sketch about it.
In this collaborative, exhibition based think-tank participants
will design a new starting point to create and find solutions
- transforming a general state of anxiety into the realms
October 22, 2007: Veronica Flores came to New York and we
took the opportunity to build a test model, 13' long, in my
studio. We built the mold and continue to collect materials
to fill it with.<top>
Sunday, June 10, 2007: Mira returned to Vancouver for the
time being, and I continued to live at Juan's place until
his return from Venice, when I officially began my nomadic
travels of New York. From my New York end, I have had some
successful and productive meetings, designed and deployed
a timeline for Waterpod events, completed the first book (Please
see PDF versions: here) as well
as a working model.<top>
June 4, 2007: Juan donated his large studio in the East Village
for our work. We moved in that afternoon and spent the entire
seven days there, leaving the place only once in a while for
a meeting with Jee Won Kim, a krumping party at Greg Liburd's
abode, Curlies Vegetarian with David and Leslie, and one or
two other times.<top>
June 3, 2007: Mira and I began photographing maquettes, officialized
the new logo, scrutinized the fashion line, and designed the
press package. <top>
June 2, 2007: Mira arrived in New York Thursday night. We
got settled in on Friday and
started working on Saturday. Discussed plans over an iced
coffee in the heat of the morning, and headed into Chinatown
to purchase some items at Plastic Land. We headed back to
Brooklyn and made a few more plans over a meal. Back at 302
Eastern Parkway, we began assembling, resining, and planning
maquettes, scenes, and promotional materials. Juan Puntes
is going to Spain on Tuesday and would like to take some press
packages with him. We are making four domed packages, and
will save one for the record.<top>
May 30, 2007: Anne Percoco began contacting businesses and
individuals in New York and the surrounding boroughs about
locations to dock the Waterpod.<top>
January 12, 2007: Chere Mira,
You know, when you wrote to me last, about your "waterpod"
and your desire to hear me ramble on about water, floods and
floating worlds (I used to close many of my my letters with
the words "A flood of blessings") I immediately
thought of Joyce, since absolutely nothing that I could write
could match the virtuosity of this logorrhea from the Ithaca
episode of Ulysses. I hope that you enjoyed it and that it
does not come too late.
What in water did Bloom,
waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier returning to the
Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to
its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean
of Mercator's projection: its umplumbed profundity in the
Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms: the
restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in
turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units:
the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence
in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides:
its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar
icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial
significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land
of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square
leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic
of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin:
its luteofulvous bed: Its capacity to dissolve and hold in
solution all soluble substances including billions of tons
of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas
and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its
weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons
and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid
and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications
in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing
rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents: gulfstream,
north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes,
waterspouts, artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies,
freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings,
geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges,
cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve:
its secrecy in springs, and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic
or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the hole in
the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation
of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent
parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its
healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea:
its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate
dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching
thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility
as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist,
cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants:
its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights
and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds
and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea:
its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility
in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric
power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility
in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks:
its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses
falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora
(anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the
inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90%
of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine
marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools
in the waning moon.
January 2, 2007: I picked up supplies from the International
Center of Photography and had them carted away in two mobile
storage units that reside in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. <top>