Brooklyn-based street artist, SWOON is in the midst of launching her third fleet of “junk rafts” — crafted from construction site cast-offs and recycled scraps, these eclectic floats are a cross between a stage-ship and art-raft. These ships are envisioned, by SWOON, as a manifestation of “bits of land broken off and headed to sea.” Her third adventure/site-specific sustainability circus is entitled Swimming Cities of Serenissima and will be comprised of three rafts that will float through the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to Venice throughout May 2009. Along the way, the crew of the vessels will collect curiosities and trinkets and incorporate them into their floating cabinet of wonders. The final result will be put on display for the public to examine when the fleet reaches its final destination, Venice.
Each of the boats has a name: Alice, named after grandmas and storybook girls, Ol’ Hickory, inspired by the Venice and Varanasi, and Maria, a kind of town hall. The veseels are the result of the creative efforts of whole host of collaborators, including Lisa D’Amour, Chicken John Rinaldi, who provided re-purposed motors. The boats were sent from New York to their launch point in Slovenia, and then reassembled by their crew members to navigate the Adriatic Sea and beyond. Their proposed route is visible in a google earth video.
Serenissima is, in Italian, means “most serene” and comes from Venice’s full titile: The Most Serene Republic of Venice (Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia). Last month the project held a benefit exhibit at the Fountain Art Fair, celebrating its own brand of eco-whimsy.
SWOON’s first two fleets were The Miss Rockaway Armada, which followed the Mississippi, and The Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, which rode the Hudson. While previous rafts by the vagabond Floating Neutrinos have actually crossed the Atlantic, Swimming Cities will keep its travels to the bends of canals, rivers and seas. Each incarnation of the boat-circus seems to sharpen its aesthetic, so we’re excited to see what floats downstream next.