The Inaugural Gowanus Souvenir Public Art Project
June 21 – September 21, 2017
Cloud Drift is a series of monumental cyanotype-image flags to be flown over the Gowanus Canal this summer (June 21-September 21) at each of its pedestrian crossings––on Union, Carroll, Third and Ninth Streets. It is presented in partnership with Gowanus Souvenir Shop. Each flag will feature a photograph of the canal's surface with its floating debris, mucky formations and reflections of Brooklyn skies, signs and structures. Over each of the canal's bridges, an upside-down image of the water just below will fly in the sky above, transforming a dingy urban landscape into pictures of sublimely cloudy skies. These photographs will be printed as 3 x 5-foot cyanotypes on cotton canvas and attached to existing light posts.
Cyanotype is an early photographic process dating from the 1840s, which results in a blue monochromatic image––the reaction of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate to sunlight and water. This process is conceptually linked to the entire project. It connects the canal’s polluted present to its 19th Century industrial past. It produces a stripped down image in shades of blue and white, the essential colors of idealized skies and waterways. Its nostalgic image technology alludes to a historically romantic view of untouched landscapes as separate from built ones. While relatively stable, cyanotype images are still sensitive to ultra-violet light; by design, the flags’ images will fade over months in the summer sun.
The flags of Cloud Drift an are an outgrowth of––and perhaps a more poetic endpoint for––the photographs Katarina has made of the canal on her regular walks between her Red Hook apartment and Gowanus studio. For passers-by, their presence might suggest a way to navigate murky waters, mark terrain created by the city’s history, signal shifts in the neighborhood, or even just call attention to their surroundings.
Watch the teaser video for the project here:
This public project is presented in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation Arterventions program, with additional community support from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.
Cloud Drift is funded with support from BAXTER ST at Camera Club of New York, the Puffin Foundation, Microgrid and Jacquard Products, and many generous contributions from individual citizens of Brooklyn and beyond.
Katarina has been updating supporters on her progress of producing the flags. The entries are archived below:
Posted May 05, 2017It was a beautiful day in Brooklyn today and I printed my first full-size flag! Here's an action-shot, exposing in the sunshine. Thanks again for your support.
Posted April 23, 2017I'm making progress! Both with fundraising and flag production. It's all thanks to you, kind supporters. Here's a picture of one of the flag-sized negatives emerging from the printer this morning.
Posted April 11, 2017Thank you again and again to supporters old and new! I am flattered and amazed to be so far along in fundraising. Thank you thank you!
I've started my residency at Baxter St at Camera Club of New York, where I'll be making the flags. I made a few tests over the weekend in the fancy darkrooms at ICP, where I get to work until the end of June.
Posted April 04, 2017WOW! Thank you, everyone! You are amazing! Because of your generosity, I'm already almost at my minimum goal of $2500, and well on my way to raising my stretch goal. THANK YOU.
In other news this week, my cyanotype chemistry donation from Jacquard Products has arrived and I started my residency at Baxter St at CCNY where I will make the flags. Production will begin soon!