Opening on Saturday, March 22nd, “Thirst” is the second exhibition sponsored by the Proteus Gowanus gallery on the annual theme of “Water.” Curated by Lydia Matthews with a transdisciplinary group of New School graduate and undergraduate students as well as numerous collaborators, “Thirst” explores the uses and abuses of water in the local and global context.
Though often taken for granted, water is a precious but disappearing resource, a biological necessity, an environmental concern and a metaphor for spirituality, purification and healing. This new exhibition asks us to consider our complex relationships with and need for water in provocative ways.
“Thirst” continues Proteus’ laboratory-like, community engaged exhibition style including installation, practical workshops, roundtable discussions and tours around Gowanus. The model of engaging a curatorial theme through different exhibitions and various partners over the course of a year allows a long term and multi-faceted exploration.
It was a perfect fit for Professor Matthews and her “Curating as Social Practice” students who have been studying and developing experimental curatorial platforms. They will transform Proteus Gowanus into ThirstLab, a living laboratory with an evolving open archive, and will host a series of cross-disciplinary, hands-on workshops on topics as diverse as water-based crafts, the politics of fresh water access, hydroponic farming and liquor distillation, and therapeutic water sports.
Juan Pablo Pemberty, an MA Design Studies student and member of the contributing curatorial Current Collective, explained, “Its not an easy thing to do; it’s not something you do in a month. It needs planning and investigation to fit the issues you want to show in an exhibition format. But I’m more than happy with the result of “Thirst”, it will be a show where our relationship with water is explored from very different realms, a mixture of ideas and conceptions.”
“Thirst” will be on view from March 22nd at Proteus Gowanus at 543 Union Street, New York, NY 11215. See the Proteus website for further description of events and activities: http://proteusgowanus.org/water/
All images were shot by Hope Ginsburg, within Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sponge HQ as they created felted water adventure gear