Gallery: Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea


This Fall the Miss Rockaway Armada will be born again as the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea. It’s the same fun idea: recycled rafts and boats floating down a river, touting all things sustainable and art-fueled, but this time the fleet is powered by alternative energy sources like biodiesel, solar and steam.

Featuring seaworthy vehicles such as the steam-powered Wilhelmina by San Francisco’s Kinetic Steamworks, the Switchback flotilla will voyage from August 15th ’til September 7th along the bit of Hudson that stretches from Troy to the New York City Harbor, eventually docking in Long Island City, Queens. Along the way, the floating roadshow will stop and give performances in Albany, Saugerties, Kingston, and Croton-on-Hudson. Creative contributors include playwright Lisa D’Amour, the band Dark Dark Dark and circus composer Sxip Shirey, coordinated by print artist Swoon.

Perhaps it’s a justification for an alternative means of travel, a kind of political rallying in an election year, or maybe (just maybe) the green movement has reached religious proportions for some folks (and maybe it’s simply about satisfying a need), but it seems like sustainability has a knack for putting people out on the road in this country.

They’re out there, traveling in clean-fuel caravans and bike-powered carnivals. In this instance, Switchback Sea is one of many glorious manifestations of the modern, green and art-centric travelling show.

+ Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea

+ Kinetic Steamworks

(Photo credit: nck wntrhltr and John Woodson)


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1 Comment

  1. falk August 12, 2008 at 6:14 am

    While I adore the project in large and find it greatly satisfying that they put alternative engines to use this year I do fail to see how a coal powered steam engine is doing anything good for nature – even when its fired with wood the energy efficiency of steam anything is can´t get any worse.
    I have noticed that the steampunk fans somehow claim that steam is such an green energy source while completely failing to tell me how they generate that clean steam where roughly 75% of the energy goes out the chimney in form of hot steam. Not everything thats hip is green and people thinking the past was so much better look at the smog infested London of the times that they so adore – it was created by burning huge amount of coal to produce steam that turned inefficient engines.

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