Proteus Gowanus » Paradise An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Sat, 19 Sep 2015 22:40:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Opera Outdoors in the Courtyard: La Calisto Fri, 01 Jul 2011 12:40:21 +0000 Friday, July 8 at 8pm
Sunday, July 10  at 8pm
Thursday, July 14 at 8pm
Saturday, July 16 at 8pm

Proteus Gowanus concludes our Paradise year with a grand finale: a Vertical Player Repertory production of Francesco Cavalli’s 17th century comedic opera La Calisto. Don’t miss this performance replete with divine shenanigans. The performance is staged outside under the stars in the post-industrial courtyard of our 19th century factory building. To read the review of the first night, click here.

Founded in 1998 by Judith Barnes, VPR began life in a storefront in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Making a successful transition from its intimate black box origins to the wide-open space of the Brooklyn Waterfront, VPR recently created two site-specific productions outdoors at the Red Hook Container Port. Il Tabarro, performed aboard an oil tanker, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann, performed atop tons of raw lumber in an amphitheatre made of huge shipping containers, won wide acclaim and drew crowds from far and wide.

Director Judith Barnes; Conductor and Harpsichordist Jennifer Peterson . Also, introducing three artists making their debut with VPR: Holly Gash, Soprano,in the role of Calisto, Marcy Richardson, Soprano, as Diana and L’Eternita and Matthew Curran, Bass, in the role of Giove.

Rain dates: Saturday July 9, Monday July 11, Friday July 15 and Sunday July 17.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW! CALL 1-800-838-3006


Images of the Event




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Benefit 2011: Paradise Bizarre Sat, 11 Jun 2011 02:17:55 +0000 Saturday, June 11 at 7-10pm

Please join us for our 2011 Benefit Party and Performance. This year we present Paradise Bizarre, a Fairground of Acts, Exhortations and Seductions, a carnival-bazaar designed to save your soul or make you forget you ever wanted to. Free booze and food thanks to our friends at Aliseo on Vanderbilt Ave, Cotta Bene on 3rd Ave, Joya Thai on Court St, Marquet Patisserie on Court St, Stinky Brooklyn on Smith St. and Brooklyn Fare on Schermerhorn.Tickets are available online now through Paypal. You can also pay by sending a check to us at 543 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Or you can pay at the door.

Ticket Prices:
$60 for one
$100 for two
$120 for a family of four
$200 for four
$500 for four includes the opportunity to return for a private curator-led history tour of the Gowanus Canal for up to 16

True believers, heathens, skeptics, pagans, atheists and heretics all welcome!

Paradise Bizarre is the culmination of our yearlong exploration of Paradise through art, artifacts, books, performances and events, bringing together old and new Protean collaborators. For details of the many performances, special guests, and collaborating angels, click here.

Proteus Gowanus is a non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3. Your donation is tax deductible.

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Sounding Paradise Fri, 20 May 2011 17:51:44 +0000 Sunday, June 5, 6:30pm

A participatory sonic installation for voices conceived and facilitated by Andrea Goodman. Behind the walls of our physical world is a dimension of pure vibration. When we sing, we enter that realm and can bring out what is invisible. On Sunday, we will evoke mythical Paradise with our voices.

Andrea Goodman, singer, composer, voice teacher, sound-healer, mythic astrologer and ceremonialist, will guide our sonic exploration of the ancient garden, its fruits, flowers and birds, the dragon who guards it and the goddess who is the source of all its fertile beauty. Paradise was lost when the dragon was slain and the goddess deposed, but the stars hold its memory in the constellations of Pegasus, Draco and Virgo.

This event will begin inside the gallery with a sound workshop for all who attend to open our voices and find the specific sounds of the elements of Paradise. The workshop will culminate in a sound installation of all our voices in the courtyard at dusk, the time of transformations, where we become singing stars and the walls of the city buildings will reflect the vibrations of Paradise.


Andrea Goodman performed for 17 years with Meredith Monk as an original member of her Vocal Ensemble, touring world-wide, singing on five of Monk’s albums and acting in films, Ellis Island and Book of Days. Since 1994, she has collaborated and performed with Figures of Speech Theatre, based in Maine, as well as singing with numerous other dancers and musicians. She is an ordained priestess of the Ministry of Maåt, and has created original ceremonies, both public and private, for important events and transitions. She is the founder and owner of Ruby-Throated Spirit in Boothbay, Maine, where she teaches voice, practices as counselor, sound-healer and mythic astrologer, and hosts private retreats. Her New York practice is based at Aurora Healing Arts in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She is the author “Lightning Holds My Hand, A Woman’s Journal of Guidance”. ,,


What Happened




A video of the event by Sean Hanley

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Shadow-stalkers and Resurrected Chickens Fri, 29 Apr 2011 20:00:57 +0000 Saturday, may 14 at 7 pm

Stories about the journey to paradise, in religious and literary traditions, feature animals as both obstacles and allies. In Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, Grendel is the “shadow-stalker” the hero must slay to prove himself and attain an earthly paradise; on the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, there is still an ornate chicken coop housing a pure white cock and hen in the cathedral in one town to commemorate a pilgrim’s miraculous escape from disaster. What beasts block our roads or assist us on the way?

Rev. Craig Townsend presents Shadow-Stalkers and Resurrected Chickens: Animals on the Road to Paradise, an evening of tales, images, and soundscape evoking and exploring the human-animal interactions that illuminate both the journey and its goal.


Craig Townsend is an Episcopal priest serving as Vicar at St. James’ Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard that, while focused on American religious history, also entailed the study of the world’s major religious traditions.


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The Listening Tour Sat, 23 Apr 2011 22:42:15 +0000 Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 6 am

Meet: Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park.

As part of the year-long Paradise exhibition at Proteus Gowanus, we will walk through the sounds of spring in Prospect Park. We will be silent, unplugged from all our devices, and “all ears” as birdsong (“the dawn chorus”) surrounds us in the midst of a borough of 2.5 million people. This will be a walking meditation, a natural concert, a rehabilitation of our urban-abused sense of hearing, and anything else you wish it to be.

New York City is in the Atlantic Flyway, the east coast’s major migration route for billions of birds moving northwards to their breeding grounds during spring. Prospect Park is a vital stopover for dozens of species heading further north, as well as those species that nest there. It is an avian paradise, constantly imperiled. The sun rises at 5:55 a.m. on May 1. This walk will be led by bird-listening and natural history blogger Matthew Wills.


What Happened

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Paradise of Projected Light Sun, 17 Apr 2011 17:11:43 +0000 Saturday, April 23 at 7pm

A program of short films by Ernie Gehr, Stan Brakhage, Jeanne Liotta, Sam Green and Mark Street will be followed by a post-screening discussion with Gehr, Green and Street. The films, curated by Lynne Sachs, Mark Street and Erik Schurink splinter and refract our preconceptions about paradise. The line-up begins with Stan Brakhage’s 1960s elegy to the NYC subway as urban miracle and his later microscopic homage to the awesome simplicity of a leaf, a petal and an insect. Next, we focus upward for Jeanne Liotta’s celebration of all things starry in the cosmos. Ernie Gehr is next with This Side of Paradise, of which Village Voice critic J. Hoberman said, “To watch (Gehr’s) film is to journey into the underground ….When Gehr inverts his camera, the world turns up-side-down. Heaven and Earth change places. The mud above, the sky below – which side of Paradise, indeed?”

Next Sam Green will take us on a journey of 20th Century utopias – both sublime and failed. And finally we’ll follow Mark Street on a geo-poetic search for the home of NYC’s collage hero Joseph Cornell, a life-long resident of the borough of Queens’ very own Utopia Parkway.

After the films, filmmakers Ernie Gehr, Sam Green and Mark Street will join us for a discussion of their work in the context of Proteus’ year-long investigation of Paradise.

The program: The Wonder Ring by Stan Brakhage with Joseph Cornell (4 min., 1960); Mothlight by Stan Brakhage (4 min., 1963); Observando el Cielo by Jeanne Liotta (12min., 2007); Sweet Dreams by Jeanne Liotta (4 min., 2009); This Side of Paradise by Ernie Gehr (14 min. 1991); Utopia Part 3: the World’s Largest Shopping Mall by Sam Green (12 min., 2010); and Utopia Parkway by Mark Street (5 min., 2011).

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Here Is Where We Meet Wed, 13 Apr 2011 22:02:11 +0000 By Appointment with the artist

In Here Is Where We Meet, artist Madhu Kaza will travel to individual participant’s homes by appointment to read to them at bedtime. This project is part of the artist’s ongoing Hospitality series, which includes projects that explore social conventions, rituals of domestic and daily life, relations between strangers, hosts and guests, and boundaries of public and intimate space. Here is Where We Meet is particularly concerned with the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep (including the drift from the world of stories to the world of dreams), a re-engagement of voice in our experience of texts, and the possibility of trust.

Madhu Kaza is a writer, artist and educator. She was born in India, raised in Detroit and currently lives in New York City.
Information from the Artist:
To participate in Here is Where We Meet you will need to make an individual appointment (see below). On the scheduled evening I will arrive at your home approximately 15 minutes before your stated bedtime. Once you are in bed, I will sit in a chair beside you and read to you from a book of your choice until you fall asleep. After you are asleep I will let myself out of your house. If you don’t fall asleep (that’s ok, too) I will read to you for a period of time that I will determine.
Please note:
  • This project is not about reading to children. I am happy, however, to read to adults of all ages, single people, partnered people, parents etc.
  • This project is meant to be conducted on a one to one scale; that is I will be reading to one person at a time. It’s fine if you share a household with others. If you have a bedmate, please schedule an appointment only if you can make arrangements to be alone during the reading.
  • I will ask you to select and provide a book for me to read to you. I will also bring a few options, which may include John Berger’s novel, Here is Where We Meet.
  • I will be making audio recordings of the readings.
  • I will need to be able to let myself out of your home and lock the door behind me (ideally without a key).
  • Due to the nature of this project – particularly its time intensiveness and the logistical issues of late night travel– there are a limited number of appointments available. My apologies if we are unable to schedule an appointment. However, I would invite anyone to extend the gesture of the project on their own, by reading aloud to friends, neighbors, loved ones.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment please copy the following questions along with your responses in an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required.
Please Note: Here is Where We Meet is booked through September. Current requests will be added to a waitlist and you will be contacted in the fall in the event that appointments become available in the fall. Thank you for your interest. 


Address (please include mailing address as well as cross streets):

Nearest public transportation:


Please list the members of your household and their relation to you (including pets):

What time do you go to sleep?

What days and/or dates you are available for an appointment?

Please describe your bedtime rituals:

Please list a few books that you love:

How did you hear about this project?

What most interests you about participating in this project?

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Bedevilment In Paradise Mon, 04 Apr 2011 19:49:01 +0000 Opening Reception: Saturday, April 16, 7-9m

For our last exhibition of the Paradise year, we focus on Bedevilment, in collaboration with our friends at Curious Matter, who will install an exhibit within the exhibit entitled The Naming of the Animals.

Myth says that naming the animals is an obligation assigned to humankind at the creation and it is one that has never ceased to demand attention: the task of naming, ordering, cataloging, dividing, pairing, discerning, describing, speaking…. Indeed, Paradise itself, where naming first began, was a place divided and separated, which is why its beatific presence bedevils us. As the exhibitions at Proteus Gowanus and Curious Matter attest, these paradisiacal topics are vexing.

We are bedeviled by threatened harmony, endless desiring,  dangerous magic and unhinged innocence, all on view in the works of 19  artists, writers , designers and collectives. Also in store is the Spring line-up of evening events with musicians, scholars, priests, dancers, filmmakers, historians and writers.

The exhibit at Proteus opens this Saturday and will run through July 16. The show at Curious Matter opened on April 3 and closes May 15. For details on Naming the Animals and directions to Curious Matter, click here.

Contributors: Sally Agee, Diane Bertolo, Peter Bonner, Jessica Cannon, Stella Chasteen, Enome Ekeh, David Eustace, Nancy Friedemann, Anne Garland, Madhu Kaza, Rosamond King, Edith Kollath, Paula Lalala, Clarinda Mac Low, Walter Polkosnik, Eaton Purdy, Leon Waller, Cate Whittemore, A Wrecked Tangle Press, and The Writhing Society.


In addition, we are pleased to host this spring two Paradise projects-in-residence. In the work of Madhu Kaza’s Here Is Where We Meet and Clarinda Mac Lowe’s Cyborg Nation, we examine the relationship between intimacy and service, domestic ritual and public space, and between our human selves and the smart machines which serve and guide us.

Cyborg Nation extends our recent inquiries into future utopias,  offering Teknotherapy for all who need help coping with their increasing dependence upon electronic gadgets. Have you fully accepted your cyborg nature? With Teknotherapy, a Cyborg interlocutor (or “teknotherapist”) leads group and individual sessions during April and May for those of us grappling with our machinic selves, helping us to come to terms with our relationships with our electronic extensions. For more details or to make an appointment, click here.

For our second project, Here is Where We Meet, Madhu Kaza will travel to individual participant’s homes by appointment to read them to sleep at bedtime. Here is Where We Meet is part of the artist’s ongoing Hospitality series, projects that examine social conventions, rituals of domestic and daily life, relations between strangers, hosts and guests, and boundaries of public and intimate space. Here is Where We Meet is particularly concerned with the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, the drift from the world of stories to the world of dreams, and a re-engagement of the pleasure of voice in our experience of texts. More details will be available soon.


What Happened

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Teknotherapy with Cyborg Nation Fri, 01 Apr 2011 19:00:44 +0000 Make an appointment or drop in on Saturday, April 16, 7-10pm;  or
1-5pm on Sunday, April 17;  Saturday, April 23;  Saturday, April 30; & Sunday, May 1.

We all have a relationship with at least one special machine, and many of us may qualify as cyborgs. Do you need help accepting your cyborg nature? How are your relationships with your machines? Have you considered therapy? In Teknotherapy, a Cyborg interlocutor (or “teknotherapist”) leads group and individual sessions for those of us grappling with our machinic selves, helping us come to terms with our relationships to our electronic extensions.

Teknotherapists: Onome Ekeh and Clarinda Mac Low.

You may drop in during designated hours or make an appointment now at email hidden; JavaScript is required. You can also participate by sending your email questions or photos to email hidden; JavaScript is required.


What kind of issues arise in Teknotherapy?

“My __________ is jealous of my other relationships.”

“I have been with my _________________ for five years and our relationship has been deteriorating. I think it’s time to move on, but it’s hard to imagine how to adjust to life without it.”

“I am unable to resist using my __________ all the time, and it is always available. “

“I have too many machines and I have trouble finding time for myself.”

“My ___________________ doesn’t understand me, and we have trouble communicating.”


Visit Cyborg Nation online for more information. Cyborg Nation is a portable performance installation based in a self-contained performance environment (or SCoPE); miniature technologies combined to create a tiny media extravaganza. It is a philosophical inquiry and investigation of intimacy in a world of remote communication; a participatory performance experiment where one-to-one conversation is a public display.

Cyborg Nation is created by Clarinda Mac Low and Walter Polkosnik, with SCoPE design by Stacy Scibelli. Presented in partnership with Proteus Gowanus and The Fixer’s Collective.

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Curious Matter Joins Proteus Gowanus In Paradise Thu, 31 Mar 2011 14:19:57 +0000 Curious Matter: Sunday, April 3 – May 15
Proteus Gowanus: Friday, April 16 – July 16

Curious Matter, the exquisite Jersey City gallery, has joined Proteus Gowanus in the search for Paradise, mounting a parallel exhibit, Naming the Animals, featuring 37 artists.

The opening reception for Curious Matter’s exhibition is Sunday, April 3, 3-6 pm. The gallery is located at 272 Fifth Ave, Jersey City, NJ.

Moreover, on Friday, April 16, at the opening reception for the third and final Proteus Gowanus Paradise exhibition, Curious Matter will curate an exhibition within our exhibition on the Proteus Gowanus bookshelf.

The Backstory: As we were planning the third and final chapter of Paradise, our friends at Curious Matter proposed a collaboration: they would install an exhibit within our exhibit which would focus on a most curious event that took place within the walls of Paradise: the naming of the animals.

Myth says that naming the animals is an obligation assigned to humankind at the creation and it is one that has never ceased to demand attention: the task of naming, ordering, cataloging, dividing, pairing, discerning, describing, speaking…. Indeed, Paradise itself, where naming first began, was a place divided and separated, which is why its beatific presence bedevils us. As the exhibitions at Proteus Gowanus and Curious Matter attest, these paradisiacal topics have a light and a dark side.

We are thrilled to be joined in this endeavor by the fine-tuned sensibility of Curious Matter and welcome the opportunity to harness Jersey City to the Gowanus in the never-ending search for Paradise.

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