Students from Vincent Cianni’s Documentary Strategies (AMT Photography) and Michelle Bogre’s Photography as Activism (Eugene Lang) classes will partner with the Canary Project to investigate the living ecology of the Gowanus Canal
The Canary Project is documenting the living ecology of the Gowanus Canal and is inviting 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). As such, students can focus their projects on individuals within the Gowanus (and specifically how they think of themselves in relation to the place), on the relationships between groups of people in the Gowanus area, on ideas about the Gowanus, or on the state of natural environment of the Gowanus.
The resulting archive will give a robust understanding of the singularity and specificity of this place as it exists right now. This is an important task given the speculative real estate development that seems the inevitable future of the Gowanus Canal. We want to offer an alternative vision to the type of homogenization inherent in such development. In addition, this archive will offer an historical record of what once existed if these plans are successfully realized.
The raw data gathered by teams of documentarians from this class and Michele Bogre’s Photography as Activism class will be used in multiple contexts, such as exhibitions, a book (if sufficient material is gathered), a website, etc. In undertaking this work, we will be building on the work of a previous Parsons-sponsored workshop as well as the work of Proteus Gowanus, The Can Factory, the Gowanus Ballroom, Mare Liberum and numerous other organizations.
For a video and description about our previous work on the Gowanus see: