Proteus Gowanus » thirstlab An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Sat, 19 Sep 2015 22:40:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ThirstLab Workshop #2: Ripple Effects: The Politics of Fresh Water Flows Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:25:40 +0000 Sunday, March 30, 3-5pm
$5 admission


Alex Prud’homme (Author of Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the 21st Century), Peter Walsh (visual/public artist), Michael Cirino (culinary artist and founder of A Razor, A Shiny Knife) and soprano Carter Scott with pianist Leesa Dahl.    

“Every time we use water – even for something as mundane as washing our hands, spraying the lawn, or generating power for light – it sets off deep and wide hydrologic ripple effects, with consequences that most of us are unaware of.  Now we no longer have the luxury of ignorance.”                    – Alex Prud’homme

In New York City, we take our access to fresh water for granted, and rarely think twice about its source or what forces shaped its presence in our kitchen sink. And yet the history and current reality of our so-called “local” water is a complex, layered tale, linking the city to specific regions and communities in upstate New York through the famous (and infamous!) Croton Aqueduct. What do we need to know about the political and socio-economic dynamics of this fresh water flow? How can we become more conscious of clean, potable water’s impact on our health and daily life in general, especially at a time when access to drinking water is becoming a 21st century global crisis due to increasing privatization, climate change and pollution? Join us and experience how a writer, a visual artist and a culinary performance artist rise to the challenge of making these issues palpable through their books, public art projects–and even by even serving up some “edible infographics” that help us digest these challenging realities.

Workshop Leaders:

Alex Prud’homme has been a journalist and author for twenty five years.  He has written on a wide range of subjects for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time.  He has authored five books, most notably as co-writer of Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, which was a #1 NYT best-seller and inspired half the film “Julie & Julia” (directed by Nora Ephron and starring Meryl Streep as Julia). His bookThe Ripple Effect: the Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century, was published in 2011, and inspired the 2012 documentary film “Last Call at the Oasis.”  His latest work, Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know, was published by Oxford University Press in November 2013. Alex Prud’homme lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY.  For more information please see:

Peter Walsh is an artist who has re-enacted a P.T. Barnum advertising stunt as a scale model of the world’s economy, held a crab-feast on a Wall Street rooftop, and re-imagined the flow of both history and water through his “Celebration of the Reversal of the Croton Aquaduct” featured in ThirstLab. His work investigates the relationship between community-building and gift economies, often studying and exposing state-determined power dynamics through his artistic process. On a July 2001 weekend in Brewster, New York, he reversed the flow of New York City’s drinking water, creating an imaginary public works project that modeled itself on grass roots activism. His more recent work “Central Park Portrait Exchange,” creates a group portrait of professional portrait drawers working in Central Park, both highlighting their formidable artistic skills and shedding light on legal battles over public space as the City of New York attempts to restrict artists’ ability to work in public parks.

Michael Cirino co-founded A Razor A Shiny Edge in 2007. It is a Brooklyn-based culinary performance group that creates educational, social, and theatrical experiences around the world. Their thought-provoking projects include a public luncheon of haute cuisine on the L train, a menu of foods highlighting controversial corn-derived products, and their Thirstlab performance, which will focus on teaching us about how hydrocolloids create metaphorical examples of water scarcity and potability around the world. While Michael adamantly refuses the title of “chef”, he has a long track record of modern and experimental cooking, and has outfitted his apartment to serve as a commercial kitchen/laboratory with lasers, infizzilators, induction burners, vacuum chambers, immersion circulators, liquid nitrogen, and a 95-year-old butcher block that his great-grandfather made for his simple Italian restaurant in upstate New York.

Carter Scott is an American soprano who has received tremendous critical acclaim for her portrayals of a wide variety of the Verdi, Strauss, and Wagner heroines. Turandot has become one of Ms. Scott’s signature roles: she has sung over forty performances of the role in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Ms. Scott made her official stage debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 2010-11 season as the Lady in Waiting (also covering Lady Macbeth) in Macbeth. During the 2012-13 season, she covered the Overseer in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Elektra, returned to Knoxville Opera for her role debut as Minnie in La fanciulla del West, and debuted with the Theater Erfurt as Turandot. This season, Ms. Scott returns to Piedmont Opera as Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer. For ThirstLab, she will perform the “The Croton Ode”–a largely forgotten piece of music written for the New York Sacred Music Society, who performed it only once during the inaugural celebration of the Croton Aquaduct, when its first freshwater flow arrived in New York City on Oct. 14, 1842.

Leesa Dahl enjoys a busy career as a collaborative artist to the emerging stars of her generation. In recent seasons she has played for the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, and enjoys a relationship with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Ms. Dahl has performed and coached at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College, and the Opera Studio at Yale. She has worked with Gotham Chamber Opera, American Lyric Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. For Thirstlab, she will be accompanying soprano Carter Scott in a performance of the 1842 musical piece, “The Croton Ode,” which was performed during the inaugural moment when the first waters arrived in New York City from upstate New York.



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