Proteus Gowanus » migration An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Sat, 19 Sep 2015 22:40:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Join Us for the Frog Fungus Survey Tue, 10 Jul 2012 17:49:57 +0000 Saturday, July 14th, 12-6 pm

In the 20th century the frog Xenopus laevis was widely used as a pregnancy test. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Xenopus can carry – without harm to itself – the chytrid fungus, which is deadly to most frogs.  Shortly after Typhoid Mary spread disease among the people of New York, Xenopus started spreading chytrid around the world, killing most frogs on contact and resulting in the extinction of a number of amphibian species in the wild.  Right now about 3,900 amphibians, over half of all species known to science, are endangered.  Help us discover if Xenopus is still spreading chytrid around New York City.  Please visit your local pet shop and buy a Xenopus frog!  New York City pet stores sell them cheap, sometimes under the name “Underwater Frog”, or “African Clawed Frog”.  

albino Xenopus









Choose the color you’d like—white albinos and speckled brown frogs are both available.  Write down the phone number and address of your local store. Then bring the frog(s) to Proteus on Saturday, July 14th between 12 and 6pm.  We’ll test to see if your frog has the fungus, and show you how to cure your new friend if he or she is a carrier.  This crowd-sourced research project will be part of an academic study.  All participants are potential coauthors of a paper that will be submitted for publication.


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Very Last Day of the Migration Year: Raffle! Shopping! Saving Amphibians! Fri, 06 Jul 2012 14:40:53 +0000 Saturday, July 14, 12-6pm

Join us for the last day of our Migration year, featuring free wine and beer, a final viewing of our truly wonderful Artists-In-Residence exhibition, a raffle and some Protean shopping. Come say Farewell til September! 

We are offering:

·        Complimentary wine and beer

.        Free raffle tickets for a chance to win a three-month membership to the Proteus Gowanus Study Hall—a program which opens the space to those who want an inspiring, art-filled environment in which to work. 

·        A library liquidation sale featuring Migration-themed books priced from $1-$10

·        An opportunity to shop the gallery’s unusual collection of art, artifacts and books

·       A last look at the Migration Artists-in-Residence show

·        The testing of underwater frogs for fungal infection and related discussion by anthropologist, CUNY professor and resident artist Eben Kirksey, whose work explores the question, “Who benefits when species meet?” Please note: this is not the pregnancy test for which these frogs were historically used in labs around the world, thereby contributing to worldwide amphibian die-off.

After the “LAST DAY” OPEN HOUSE, Proteus Gowanus will be on hiatus until September 15, when we will re-open with the exhibition “War of Words”, first show of our next yearlong theme, Battle.

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Repository: a Nuclear Waste Card Game Fri, 15 Jun 2012 19:04:03 +0000 Thursday, June 28, 8pm
$5 admission

We are excited to host the launch of Repository: A Typological Guide to America’s Ephemeral Nuclear Infrastructure by Smudge Studio, which will present the cards and tell the terrifying tales of the real-life nuclear waste shell game.  All of our nation’s high-level nuclear waste has nowhere to go. And yet, it’s always migrating somewhere, either under its own power or in a vibrant assemblage with other things such as water, air, soil, bacteria or human commerce. Repository graphically depicts this material reality through a deck of 42 cards designed to help you spot and identify today’s temporary solutions for the storage of radioactive waste, as you pass by them on the highway, or as they pass by you. 

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository was our nation’s best attempt to store and contain high-level waste. In 2010 the site was deemed unsuitable and the project’s funding was eliminated. No permanent storage options are expected to be available for the next 100-300 years. In 2004, the EPA determined that high-level radioactive wastes will remain dangerous to humans for 1 million years.  They stipulated that any repository for high level waste will have to meet the unprecedentedly long-term safety goal of 1000 millennia.  As of 2011, about 66,000 metric tons of spent fuel were being held at power reactor sites in 33 states. Each year, this amount increases by another 2,000 metric tons.

Repository chronicles “temporary” infrastructures designed (or simply used) to contain nuclear waste until more enduring facilities can be researched and constructed.  Some of the cards feature structures that take notably unique approaches to storage.  Others exemplify common infrastructural forms or approaches that run through multiple facilities, or function as mobile infrastructures for transporting radioactive waste between sites.  As with other smudge projects, we invite audiences to expand their capacities to imagine the monumental time spans required to contain and monitor nuclear materials, and to consider the extraordinary challenges that they present to designers, architects and engineers.

Preorder the 42-card deck $10.00 USD, shipping June 29, 2012


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The Final Migration: Stories of Heaven and Hell Tue, 29 May 2012 19:12:41 +0000 Thursday, June 7, 7pm
$5 admission

We’re all going somewhere on our final journey – and faiths and cultures around the world have mapped out a wide array of possible destinations. An Episcopal priest and student of world religions, the Reverend Craig D. Townsend will offer an array of stories – with musical commentary and accompaniment provided by his sons – illuminating the human effort to understand where we’re headed.

The Rev. Craig D. Townsend, Ph.D., Vicar, St. James’ Church (Manhattan), musical soundscapes by Caleb Townsend (Hellfire) and Asher Townsend (Brimstone).

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Your Day Is My Night: An Interactive Film-Performance Sun, 22 Apr 2012 17:18:34 +0000 Tuesday, May 1, 7:30pm
$8 admission

This month, the Proteus Migration Film & Video Series will host a unique cinema-performance event which will be enacted throughout our various project spaces. Brooklyn-based filmmaker, Lynne Sachs, will bring us a specially designed evening of film and integrated movement pieces based on her recent work with a group of Chinese and Puerto Rican performers. The Your Day is My Night Collective will explore “shiftbeds” through verité conversations, character-driven fictions, and multi-format film loops. A shift-bed is shared by people who are neither in the same family nor in a relationship. Inspired by theater visionaries Augusto Boal and the Wooster Group, the collective has worked for the last year on a series of performance workshops centered around such a bed – experienced, remembered, and imagined from profoundly different viewpoints. The audience will be encouraged to engage with the characters while walking through the gallery as a “shift-bed” house, witnessing their stories of life before and after immigration to the United States.

Film loops excerpted from the upcoming feature-length film, “Your Day is My Night.”

More information can be found at

Performers: Yi Chun Cao, Yueh (Linda) Hwa Chan, Che Chang-Qing, Yun Xiu Huang, Ellen Ho,  Sheut Hing Lee, Veraalba Santa Torres and Pedro Sanchez Tormes

Directed by Lynne Sachs
Images by Sean Hanley and Ethan Mass
Writing by Rojo Robles and Lynne Sachs
Translations by Catherine Ng, Jenifer Lee and Bryan Chan
Co-editing and co-producing by Sean Hanley
Production Assistance by Madeline Youngberg, Amanda Katz & Jeff Sisson



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Multispecies Salon Conversation Series Sun, 22 Apr 2012 17:03:58 +0000 Sunday, April 29, 5pm
Please RSVP, space limited

Conversation #1: The Multispecies Salon: Gleanings from a Para-Site 

This event will be the first in a series of three conversations hosted by Eben Kirksey, Proteus Gowanus Anthropologist-In-Residence, of The Multispecies Salon. The conversations will orbit around three interrelated questions:

Which species flourish, and which fail, when natural and cultural worlds intermingle and collide? What happens when the bodies of organisms, and even entire ecosystems, are brought into schemes of biotechnology and dreams of biocapitalism? And finally in the aftermath of disasters—in blasted landscapes that have been transformed by multiple catastrophes—what are the possibilities of biocultural hope?

A series of essays, works in progress by Eben Kirksey, will be precirculated in advance to ground these conversations.

Sunday, April 29th, 5-6:30: “Multispecies Salon: Gleanings from a Para-Site” (10 pp)
Sunday, May 6, 5-6:30: “Hope in Blasted Landscapes” (30 pp)
Sunday, May 13, 5-6:30: “Life in the Age of Biotechnology” (30 pp)

Please RSVP for to secure a spot in the discussion and copies of the
essays.  Space is limited.


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New York City Coyote Existential: A Play Sun, 15 Apr 2012 21:29:25 +0000 Saturday, April 21, 8pm
$5 admission

A  reading of a new short play with songs and science by Melissa Cooper. Music by Thomas Cabaniss.

A woman and a coyote come face to face in Central Park. What forces have brought these two beings together for a shared moment in the heart of Manhattan? Where did each come from, and where is she going? Based on a true story, this inter-species dialogue celebrates the mystery of unlikely migrations and meetings.

“You think I’m making this up? I’m not. Everything I’m telling you is true. Everything. One way or another, all of it is true.”

by Atty Gell

Actors Melissa Cooper, Mary Schultz, Nick Hamburger, Alex Viola and Myles Rowland.

You may also wish to visit Melissa’s urban nature website:

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Urban Geological Study Thu, 05 Apr 2012 18:09:24 +0000 Sunday, April 15, 4:30-6:30pm

Geology is the the study of materials contained within the Earth and the processes by which they evolve. The Urban Geological Study will lead participants on a hands-on exploration in the neighborhood to gather materials, identify, classify, and tell a new story of objects found in the local urban environment. How did these objects arrive here? What are their uses? Where will they end up? During the workshop we will create new systems of nomenclature based on historical fact or future fiction to form new connections with our surrounding environment through migratory geological narratives. An informational handout, worksheet, and survey materials will be provided. All ages are welcome.

Studio AND is a collaboration between Audra Wolowiec and Niels Cosman. Their work explores the curious phenomenon of Urban Meteorites, fictional artifacts from an imagined future. More about their project can be found at

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Opening Reception for Future Migration Thu, 05 Apr 2012 17:29:54 +0000 Saturday, April 14, 7pm

Join us for the opening reception of the third exhibition of the Migration year: FUTURE MIGRATION, an exploration of the possibilities and predicaments of life in the anthropocene future.  Proteus Gowanus brings together artists, scientists, and visionaries in an exhibition of art, artifacts, and books, as well as talks, film and other events that consider where we are headed in our continual migrations toward the unknown. What sorts of resources will be preserved or invented to allow life on this planet to continue? Will Earth always be home or will we look out into the galaxy to find new and alternative solutions in the stars? Will we continue to exist as natural beings or will our technologies lead us to a new definition of what it means to be human?

Artist Krista Dragomer is co-curator of the  exhibition.

Bryan M Wilson, Monument to the Future

Participants include: Indrani AsheScott Billings, Kevin Clement, Elizabeth CopeDonald Daedalus, Eymund Diegel, Krista Dragomer and Rashin FahandejSarah EdkinsDavid Eustace, Peter Fend, Rebecca Heritage, Rita London,  Beatrice Marovich, Elisabeth Pellathy, Eric Pettiti, Deanna Pindell, Debra Tillinger, Emily Tobey, Barbara WestermannBryan Wilson, Sen-I Yu.

Concurrently, for our third residency of the Migration year, we are delighted to welcome, as Anthropologist-In-Residence Eben Kirksey and his collaborators with the Multi-Species Salon. They will work in text, conversation and installation, with media ranging from wool fiber to amphibians to moss–questioning human entanglement with plants, microbes, and animals and to develop art/projects intended to help us think about living with and in a multispecies worlds. Their particular concern is finding hope in Blasted Landscapes.

In addition, as part of Future Migration, we welcome THE FOOL’S JOURNEY, a corollary exhibition on our shelves curated by our friends from Curious Matter in Jersey City, NJ. In the Tarot, The Fool symbolizes the beginning of a journey. He sets off to explore without knowing what lies ahead. He isn’t a fool in the sense of a buffoon, rather one who proceeds on an adventure in spite of his lack of experience. To confront the unknown; the accumulation of knowledge; transformation from ignorance to wisdom; moving from one place to another, whether physical or psychical, are aspects of The Fool’s Journey.

Artists participating in The Fool’s Journey at  Proteus include: Fanny Allié, Lasse Antonsen, Louise Barry, Angela S. Beallor, Joseph Cavalieri, Gail Goldsmith, Ian Addison Hall, Joe Lugara, Marianne McCarthy, Anatoli Savov Monov, R. Wayne Parsons, Sarah Gl Sharp, Melissa A. Stern, Claire Watson, Katarina Wong.

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Music, Migration and the Maghreb Thu, 29 Mar 2012 22:05:36 +0000 Thursday, April 5, 8pm
$5 admission

Join us for a lecture with recordings and discussion of a great era of Jewish-Muslim musical collaboration in North Africa and beyond.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the phonograph had become a fixture in bars, cafes and theaters across North Africa. With an eye toward a new market, the major international record labels soon moved in and recorded the greatest Jewish and Muslim musicians of their generation. The labels captured sounds that would come not only to define Arabic music in the region but also to preserve a fascinating history of Jewish-Muslim musical collaboration in the Maghreb.

By mid-century, North Africa and the music scene changed dramatically. In the immediate aftermath of Israel’s establishment and Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian independence, thousands of Jews from across the region made the Jewish state their new home including many of these musicians. Israel held little promise of a continued career for these artists and almost no hope of continued collaboration until a pioneering Moroccan immigrant found a cache of phonographs in a Jaffa flea market, started recording those around him and preserved this shared patrimony while enabling new styles to emerge. Join us to hear the story as we spin rare records from North Africa and Israel.

samyel maghribi

Chris Silver runs and is currently working on a project to digitize rare Jewish North African 78s, LPs and EPs. To listen to these sounds, check out


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