Art Installation Sinks To Depths Of Gowanus Canal

The Harvest Dome before it sank. Photo: Anthony Fine/Flickr Creative Commons
The Harvest Dome before it sank. Photo: Anthony Fine/Flickr Creative Commons

Even though a highly protected human once braved the fetid waters of the Gowanus Canal and survived, it seems this art installation was not so lucky: On Wednesday, a floating orb that bobbed along the canal’s grimy surface for 18 months sank, as it was reportedly ensnared by something beneath. Maybe the art installation was snatched up by a gilled, radioactive slime monster? 

The art installation, which was called Harvest Dome (RIP), was assembled from old, discarded umbrellas and plastic water bottles, and was made by Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter, two architects behind the Manhattan firm, Slo Architecture. DNAinfo reports that the globe was initially schlepped from Inwood in November 2013, and that “Levi and Schachter were in the midst of arranging to have the orb fished out and transported to the nearby Benson Scrap Metal facility when it started sinking.”

But they were too late. Something, apparently another sunken art installation that sits collecting moss on the canal floor, latched onto Harvest Dome and ensured its demise beneath the murky waters.

Levi told DNAinfo, “It’s like some kind of film noir thing where the past of the canal is dragging down this new thing.” Then Levi invoked Star Wars, saying “It was like Darth, and Harvest Dome was Luke.”

And Levi isn’t wrong about the Gowanus Canal being a treacherous, potentially monster-spawning body of radioactive sludge. In March 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency pledged to incorporate the canal in its Superfund cleanup.  The EPA noted that “as a result of years of discharges, storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants, the Gowanus Canal has become one of the nation’s most extensively contaminated water bodies.”

Well, there you go. Maybe Harvest Dome was always destined to be swallowed whole, even if it did have an impressive run. But it’s clear that Levi and Schachter should have seen that coming, or at least considered that throwing an art installation made of repurposed garbage into one of America’s most polluted bodies of water didn’t really help a drastic environmental problem.

Follow Sam Blum @Blumnessmonster 








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