2022. Performance, duration variable. Photographer: Charles Park, Special thanks to: Ben Gabriel, Samuel Lang Budin. Graham Birge.
Untrained Amateur reimagines accessibility to New York City water through materiality, craft, and open-source research. The project investigates toxicity and healing by centering autonomous agency and creating multiple levels of intimacy with material.
This project focuses on ecosystems in the Upper and Lower Bays beginning in Red Hook and ending beyond the Verrazano Bridge. In Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, water and its ecology are simultaneously separated by imagined borders and are able to move beyond the policies placed on them. Untrained Amateur reflects on environmental damage in relation to harms on human health through New York State Department of Health policy discourse—calling attention to the relationship between geologic systems and Western scientific structures of assimilative capacity: the theory that certain levels of pollutants can be absorbed by a body, environmentally or physically, without detrimental effects to the environment or those who use it.
This work visualizes current public health policies through a vessel that offers a circumventive mode of access to the Bays, painted with pigments directly linked to the history and presence of pollution in the water, and paintings that explore the imagined life cycles of pollutants after ingestion in the body according to the different policy areas applied to the same body of water.
Pollution is Colonialism, Max Liboiron, 2021, Duke University Press
A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, Kathryn Yusoff, 2018, University of Minnesota Press
Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici, 2004, Autonomedia
Untrained Amateur, 2022.
Marine-grade plywood, salvaged wood, Titebond III, steel, fiberglass, cadmium orange, cadmium red, crap green, iron oxide, ultramarine blue, ultramarine purple, graphite, Thompson’s WaterSeal, duct tape, fishing net salvaged from Long Island fishery, and rope, 48 × 96”.
Photo: Martin Seck.