Proteoscope » Battle The Blog of Proteus Gowanus Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:51:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scratching the Surface Wed, 11 Sep 2013 23:07:01 +0000 Katarina Jerinic, Topography of Cobble Hill/Ponkiesberg/Corkscrew Fort, Brooklyn, NY

Katarina Jerinic, Topography of Cobble Hill/Ponkiesberg/Corkscrew Fort, Brooklyn, NY

Does the surface remember? If we run our hands across the ground, does it speak to us? Does history reverberate through the asphalt, telling us of forgotten things? If we walk a mile do we better understand how long it is? If we plant and harvest corn, do we find a lost connection to the land, to ourselves?

Katarina Jerinec and Christina Kelly, both artists who contributed to the Battle Ground exhibit, examine surfaces, touching the ground, feeling their way to a connection between past and present. Jerinic got down on her hands and knees and photographed cracks in the pavement in front of Trader Joe’s at the corner of Atlantic and Court Streets in Brooklyn. Why? Because this was the purported site where George Washington stood, observing the massacre of several hundred Maryland farm boys as they held off the British.

Jerinic laced these delicate photographic cracks into a spiraling “map,” suggesting the path that wound to the top of Fort Ponkiesburg where Washington stood. The Revolutionary fort, now ignominiously replaced by Trader Joes, was leveled by the British soon after the Revolution. The “map” is included in Jerinic’s accordion book. On the book’s reverse side Jerinic added a photograph of the flagpole that tops Trader Joe’s today, a marker that illustrates how high the fort once stood.

Christina Kelly, in her 2010 public art installation at the corner of Smith and Bergen Streets, planted corn grown once grown by the Lenape Indians in this part of Brooklyn. Kelly’s installation, “Conditions on the Ground,” currently on view in our Hall of the Gowanus, is housed in an old filing cabinet given to Proteus Gowanus by the Brooklyn Museum Library.

Christina Kelly, Conditions on the Ground, Detail 1

Christina Kelly, Conditions on the Ground, Detail 1

Gleaned from her readings about the Battle, Kelly divided the historical narrative into descriptive categories, labeling the drawers with the headings: Fog, Tides, Forest, Wilderness, Cultivation, Weather, Peace. In each drawer Kelly placed a small installation. An opened drawer marked “Forest” reveals tiny, plastic wild boars and pinecones, and a description of how the Hessian troops, mercenaries hired by the British, enjoyed hunting wild boar native to the region. A drawer containing a watermelon, watermelon seeds (free for the taking), and a map points to the scene in which the opening shots of the Battle were fought over a watermelon patch.

Kelly has carefully recreated “library cards” including excerpts from a certain Colonel Tallmadge’s memoir of the Battle. She has inserted several of the Brooklyn Museum’s now defunct library cards into a drawer, all conveniently referring to books starting with the word “American.”

Christina Kelly, Conditions on the Ground, Detail 2

Christina Kelly, Conditions on the Ground, Detail 2





Katarina Jerinic’s artist book “Topography of Cobble Hill/Ponkiesberg/Corkscrew Fort, Brooklyn, NY” is currently available for sale ($10) in the Proteus Gowanus Gift Shop.

Christina Kelly’s “Conditions on the Ground” is currently on view in the Hall of the Gowanus at Proteus Gowanus.

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A Roomful of Secrets Fri, 12 Apr 2013 15:27:09 +0000 photo-5 copy


The future history of secret wars has yet to be written:

Atomic priests and millenial vestments…


Bryan M. Wilson

Bryan M. Wilson detail


the cryptomusicology of shortwave espionage… floating signals in unbreakable codes…


Console copy 3


David Goren


the lost lost things…


Anna Livia Löwendahl-Atomic

Anna Livia Löwendahl-Atomic


the shadow world of black ops…


Joy Garnett


[this information has been redacted]


Renée Ridgway


—Tom Miller


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Secret Wars Tue, 12 Feb 2013 06:01:13 +0000 Dear Readers,

Proteoscope proudly returns to your pixel screens after a monthlong break, with a new topic to go with our new exhibition. I’m Tom Miller, an anthropologist who studies sound, shamanism, and the history of science. Together with Protean creative director Tammy Pittman, I co-curated Secret Wars, the current exhibition at Proteus Gowanus. I’ll be guest blogging for the next two months.

Secret Wars, the second installment of our yearlong Battle series, explores the cryptic ways of warfare waged behind a cloak of invisibility.  Here at Proteoscope we’ll go down the rabbit hole in pursuit of the themes in the exhibition: surveillance, drone warfare, shortwave spy signals, WikiLeaks, redactions, codes, invisible weaponry, cults of secrecy, the persistence of lost things in memory, the neurobiological bases of fear and more. I invite your comments and dialogue as we look at each of our artists’ work, play surrealist conflict games, and reveal the covert world of hidden battle.


Predator 2 by Joy Garnett

Predator 2 by Joy Garnett


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