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The Green Life: Floating Art and the Environment

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June 12, 2009

Floating Art and the Environment

Alice-docking Recently, we've covered a variety of ways in which artists are engaging with the green movement. Earlier this week, we wrote about a contest that encourages artists to raise climate-change awareness through their work. Then there was the guerilla gardener whose planting projects are a form of activism. In the last issue of Sierra, we told you about two men who floated a raft of salvaged plastic from California to Hawaii to highlight our excessive plastic waste. 


At first, the Swimming Cities of Serenissima seems like a pretty similar project: the artist, Swoon, and more than 30 collaborators hand-crafted three seaworthy vessels from recycled materials and sailed them from Slovenia to Venice, Italy this May. But this extravagant construction project-expedition is more about an artistic aesthetic than outright activism, its creators say.

The designs are inspired by the tangled mangrove forests that Swoon experienced as a child. That jungly appearance, combined with the use of materials salvaged from dumpsters in New York and Slovenia, evokes nostalgia for the natural world and thoughts of conservation. Still, the goal was more to convey a sense of possibility than to make an environmental statement. 
 
The artists' statement says of the vessels, "they are a reminder that anything that can be imagined can be built." In a time when we sorely need green innovation, this inspiring message should be welcome.

--Jamie Hansen 

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