Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Aquapolis 2100 by /rive collective

This work was created during the WoW/UNY Governors Island Residency. /rive collective was in residence on Governors Island in 2018.

Aquapolis 2100  [6 minutes, HD video]
/rive Collective [ Laura Chipley, Samara Smith, A.E. Souzis]

Aquapolis 2100 is a collaborative project by the art collective /rive exploring New York City's rising sea levels, which could rise up to as much as 6 feet higher by 2100. Each weekend of the WoW/UNY residency in summer 2018, /rive invited Governors Island visitors to draw what they imagine New York might look like in 2100 and sketch up their ideas—both practical and fantastical—about what they could do to deal with this crisis. This video piece features animations of these drawings set in the backdrop of an increasingly watery New York.

/rive is a Brooklyn-based artist collective focused on site-specific, locative projects that meet at the intersection of psychogeography, locative media and documentary narrative. Most projects are set in, and explore, urban public spaces. Inspired by social practice, /rive embraces collaborative and participatory methodologies, blurring the boundaries between maker, subject and audience. Members Laura Grace Chipley, Samara Smith and A.E. Souzis have exhibited at the Queens Museum, Hammer Museum, Bronx Museum, New York Hall of Science, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Art in Odd Places and beyond.