Tuesday, July 15, 2014

chalk to the nearest exit, or, the c train

For the 2014 Perry Chalk Art Festival, our 5'x10' chalky interpretation of the theme 'Transformations'. (Click here to see the one I did in 2012)

Jon and I, grubby and relieved at the end of 4-5 absorbed hours chalking in the sun
The MTA's Artificial Reef Project, begun in 2001, involved taking decommissioned New York City subway cars and deploying them to the ocean floor to create new habitats for marine life. These included the old 'Redbirds', which rode the rails from 1964-2003. The cars were stripped of doors & windows and any materials that might leach into the water. Within 3-5 years- usually sooner- the structures were covered with coral and algae, transforming into strange & beautiful places of refuge for fish and providing a feeding ground, increasing catches for fishermen, and enhancing the topography of the otherwise barren floor of the Mid-Atlantic.
(from my accompanying statement taped to the concrete.)

People feared this scheme was a thinly-veiled attempt to turn the ocean floor into a junkyard, but it seems that the cars, chosen for their durability, weight & roominess, show little to no damage or disintegration of materials. You never know the whole story of course, but it appeared to be a successful project, and the scuba diver's photos I'd found online are eerie and magical. A challenge to replicate in chalk, especially as I hadn't done it in two years and Jon never had, so we just dug into it. Somehow we snagged second place. By morning, just as when I chalked 2 years ago, the rain had all but washed it away, rendering the underwater portion even more realistic.

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