Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island

Minetta Brook
2005, 16 min, color, sound

Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island (1970-2005) is a project by Robert Smithson that was realized posthumously. Produced by Minetta Brook in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, Floating Island features a barge landscaped with earth, trees, shrubs and rocks: a "non-site" of Central Park. Towed by a tugboat, this fabricated "island" circled the island of Manhattan for a week in September of 2005. This video documents the evolution and realization of this project.

"Smithson developed the concept for Floating Island in 1970 — the same year he created his best-known work, the ambitious earthwork Spiral Jetty at Utah's Great Salt Lake — but efforts by Smithson to realize the project in the early 1970s were unsuccessful. Likely an homage to Frederick Law Olmsted's design of Central Park, Floating Island offered a displacement of Central Park, itself a man-made creation, from its natural habitat. When the barge made its trip around the island of Manhattan, New Yorkers had a chance to see a re-imagined fragment of their island floating by." — Minetta Brook

Film: Sam Ketay. Produced by @radical.media. Executive Producers: Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma, Justin Wilkes. Producer: Liz Bradley. Editor: Mark Adato. Sound: Matt Israel, Jonathan Silberberg. Production Assistant: Breanne Murphy. Post-production: Outpost Digital, NYC.


In exhibition, this work should be presented in a cinematic situation, i.e. a projection contained in its own room, preferably projected onto a screen, in a black box gallery, with seating provided, and posted start times. Please contact the office for further information.
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