Fall 2012 Fellow
Fellow: Konstantin Prishep
Project: The Aquatorium Barge
about the aquatorium barge
The Aquatorium Barge was set to become a place of social and ecological engagement, docked along one of New York City’s waterways. Here, people with various skill sets were set to stack functions to create a space of unlikely compositions. This constellation was to range from gardeners to architects and musicians as well as others wishing to share a skill or two. The Barge was going to be an open engagement with alternative infrastructure and social form. The Barge was 90 x 30 feet, and set to play a role in feeding the collective imagination to demonstrate the kind social production that may emerge from a thing that evaded traditional conditions of zoning and locality. It was slated to act as interdisciplinary event space in the context of a floating garden, as well as a location for free workshops, events, classes and collaborative building projects. These were to act together to manifest a utilized indoor-outdoor, park-like climate, while offering more than a spectacle. The use of the Barge also opened the dialogue about uses of industrial water ways and the remediation work that needs to be done in the wake of receding industrial production. It was located on one of the most polluted waterways in all of the five boroughs.
Then Sandy happened.
As with many experimental public projects, the Aquatorium Barge was based on an unstable and contingent condition, and in that condition it suffered irreparable damage. The waterway where it was located became impassable, and the owner became wary of allowing use.
So Prishep moved his project to dry land, and became involved with a garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where he narrowed his focus and created a number of multi-disciplinary events.
Konstantin Prishep was born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Minsk, Belarus, and moved to the United States when he was nine. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Konstantin’s work explores the confines of urban space and pushes the possibilities of imagining a new dynamic between citizens and public/cultural space. He uses art as a vehicle for communication to improve and further the dialogue about the way in which we construct society and contest our shared social reality. Comfortable in both traditional and new media, Konstantin utilizes activism, technology, city planning, gardening, and social critique in the toolbox for cultural production.
His interest is to change the practice of art from detachment to engagement, as well as provide a functional component to what is produced. His works evoke interactive, participatory means to foster a dialogue about people and their environment as well as to challenge the present social systems in the time and place surrounding us. His past projects include data visualization works, interdisciplinary art labs, interactive living walls in public spaces, design infrastructure for bioremediation, as well as works that act to illicit participant input on topics pertaining to social research.