Editor's Note: Martina Dolejsova writes about architecture and design. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Mary Mattingly;'s ongoing project, the WATERPOD, is a juxtaposition of the forthcoming ideas of using machines to live with nature. Fittingly my trip to meet with New York artist began at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Standing at the gate viewing house stilted cranes on the horizon reminded me of a machine city, remnants of modern inspirations.
I've been waiting to see the final construction for the past year. The WATERPOD will have three functional spaces; a garden/green house, a public space for traveling exhibits and events and a living space where she and other volunteer artists will be staying during the summer. Her ambitions for this project flirt with the concepts of mobility, sustainability, and our ideas on livability. Mattingly trying to tackle a long list: A garden with kale, tomatoes, etc and is planning of bartering with local farmer's markets for what is not available on board, hens, a composting toilet - like NASA, Mattingly jokes - a rain catchment system, a grey water system even a 30 foot tall wind turbine. All to inform the public about conservation and staying off the grid.
What is this all for? It's hard to let this stand as just another 'green' project...
Mattingly's agenda is to push the urban restrictions commonly found in a dense city that inhibit environmental development. She hopes to use the wind turbine for research; providing the city valuable data in moving new technology forward as a viable urban energy solution. Mattingly stated one to two examples can be found in the city, but they are very discrete because it is currently against the city's building codes. Mattingly is hopeful that with her barges departure her turbine will power her lights into the Hudson.
Overall, it is a chance for discourse for the city's citizens and their relationship to the river, our landscapes, and how to bring the organic into balance with the towering structures of steel and the crowding of people.
It is scheduled to launch this summer. Keep an eye out in June!