Proteus Gowanus hosts a panel discussion presented by Art in Odd Places in partnership with the Institute for Urban Design on the occasion of the first annual Urban Design Week Festival (September 15 – 20, 2011).

Rise and Fall: Contemporary Nautical Practice and the Gowanus Canal

Tuesday, September 20, 7pm
free admission

Discussion will center on artists and activists who take the NYC waterways as their creative point of departure, and who have crafted alternative ways to reclaim the water as viable public space. Of particular interest in this dialog is EPA Superfund site, the Gowanus Canal. Some ideas that may be explored in the conversation include: creating alternative economies, re-imagining transportation, sustainability and the waterfront, and the thought of greater autonomy and accessibility for the urban individual. While Urban Design Week is a festival that is looking for creative, yet nonetheless practical solutions to real concerns regarding livability in NYC, this panel seeks to balance the design conversation with artistic projects that allow for a further-reaching imagination into a future of agency.

Panelists: Ludger K. Balan, Dylan Gauthier, Constance Hockaday, Mary Mattingly and Tim Thyzel
Moderator: Jeff Stark

Organized by Juliana Driever


Ludger K. Balan is an Artist, Filmmaker, Scuba Diver, a Naturalist and Licensed Falconer. He is the founder of The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy, a not-for-profit environmental and cultural organization that serves communities throughout New York Harbor in quality and innovative public engagement programs in environmental literacy, conservation support, youth development, cultural enrichment and maritime activities. Mr. Balan spearheads the organization as its Executive Environmental and Cultural Program Director, and is the designer of the organizations EnviroMedia Mobile – a state-of-the-art mobile nature and maritime museum on wheels. The mobile museum serves the public with a robust Children and Families program series at IKEA Erie Basin Park, in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Dylan Gauthier is a Brooklyn-based artist (which sometimes also means writer, curator, educator, boatbuilder, media activist). His works are videos, photographs, soundtracks, and performances and are concerned with temporary situations, shared experiences, public space and access to information. He is co-founder of the boatbuilding and printmaking project Mare Liberum (, a frequent collaborator with the Gowanus Studio Space, and with the collective Red76, and has shown in museums and galleries both nationally and internationally. Dylan is a candidate in the MFA in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College.

Constance Hockaday belongs to a family of boat builders called the Floating Neutrinos. Headed by modern nomad Poppa Neutrino, they have built more than twelve rafts, largely from salvaged and recycled materials – some of which have crossed the Atlantic Ocean. She builds boats, books, and public lectures. Her most recent project is the Boggsville Boatel and Boat-in Theatre— a hotel and movie theatre made from salvaged boats and wood. Hockaday also has a second job working in the field of conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution.

Mary Mattingly has participated in exhibitions at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the International Center of Photography, Palais de Tokyo, and the Neuberger Museum of Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Occurrence Espace d’art et d’essai Contemporains in Montreal, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY and Galerie Adler in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2011, she participated in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation (NYC), Art Omi (ME), and is currently a Fellow at Eyebeam (NYC). Her work has been featured in ArtForum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, Le Monde Magazine, ICON, Sculpture Magazine, Aperture, BBC News, and MSNBC.

Tim Thyzel was born in Hamburg , Germany in 1966. He is currently living and working in New York City. Thyzel received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and a Diploma (MFA) from the Hochschule für Bildende Künster in Hamburg in 1995. His work has been shown in galleries and museums in the US, Europe and Australia. Thyzel frequently incorporates sculpture and performance in the public realm. Recently he created boats from bubble wrap and brown packing tape, which he successfully launched on the East River and Meadow Lake.

Jeff Stark (Moderator) is the editor of Nonsense NYC, a weekly email list and discriminating resource for independent art, weird events, strange happenings, unique parties, and senseless culture in New York City. He was a member of the Miss Rockaway Armada, a collective art project that floated a junk raft down the Mississippi River in 2006, and built rafts for Swoon’s Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea in 2008. He lives a block and a half from the Gowanus Canal.