This year’s fall-to-summer year-long theme at Proteus Gowanus is Water, a substance which holds us in its grip, dictating where and how we live, exerting its osmotic pull through our bodies and filtering into our thoughts and dreams. As the planet grows hotter, it is the presence and absence of water that best marks the changing atmosphere and, as a result, water — rain, floods, drought, and melting ice — is more than ever on our minds.
Containment, the first exhibition of the Water year, represents a variety of ways of containing water: in us, for us and away from us. It is an invitation to join with artists, planners and scientists to use images, books, diagrams and events to explore our complex relationship with water.
Break/Remake is a collaborative installation in Containment that occupies Proteus’ wall-sized book shelf. Break/Remake alludes to the massive re-engineering of the world’s rivers by large dam construction, changing the patterns of surface water worldwide and disrupting — often catastrophically — entire communities and ecosystems. As curator, I invited artists to break and remake containers, prompting the question: what is gained and what is lost when a container — be it a river or a cup — is broken and re-made? —TP