October 2, 2019
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Announces Selected Works for Open Call to Artists that Celebrate Art, Nature, and History as part of Open House New York Weekend
Brooklyn, N.Y. (August 15, 2019) – On Wednesday Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) announced the two artists selected from its open call for proposed works that will provide visitors during Open House New York (OHNY) weekend with a unique experience that explores the natural and cultural history of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, the former burial ground of the Naval Hospital Annex at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Following a submission process that began in July and a month-long voting period, BGI selected two projects for the special exhibition: Birdhouse, a movement piece choreographed by Caylee Shimizu, a dance artist and dance/movement therapist; and ROW, an audio installation by Lisa Hein & Robert Seng. All selected artists are based in Brooklyn. The two submissions were selected for their site-specific focus in drawing inspiration from the ecology and history of the Naval Cemetery Landscape. According to Nina Bowers, who coordinates programs for BGI, “These two works complement one another and enhance the experience of the site in powerful and different ways.”
The Naval Cemetery Landscape, developed by BGI and opened to the public in 2016, is an award-winning 1.7-acre contemplative memorial landscape and pollinator habitat. The site was designed to provide local residents and other visitors with a respite from the stresses of urban life while adding vital open space and native plant habitat to a park-starved area of Brooklyn.
The Naval Cemetery Landscape is visited by an estimated 12,000 people annually, many of whom come from the local neighborhoods of South Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, and Bedford Stuyvesant. The Cemetery is a green oasis filled with native wildflowers, shrubs, young and mature trees, and tens of thousands of insects – mostly pollinators, including a surprising mix of native bee species. Visitors are invited to wander along an undulating elevated wooden walkway, sit on the “Sacred Bench,” and share a reflection in its Journal. “The Cemetery Landscape is a secret gem in the City,” said Bowers, “but we hope that through the art exhibitions and tours offered for Open House New York weekend that the secret will be out.”
The Naval Cemetery Landscape Season Closer will feature ROW throughout Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20 from 10am to 6pm. The performance Birdhouse, is scheduled for Saturday October 19th at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. In addition, BGI is offering tours led by the project’s landscape architect Jeffrey Longhenry and native meadow specialist Pennington Marchael on Sunday, October 20 at 11am, 3pm, and 5pm. The full schedule of activities is listed online at www.BrooklynGreenway.org.
The Naval Cemetery Landscape Season Closer Event is made possible with the support of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Nature Sacred, and Con Edison.
Artist Bios and Statements
Caylee Shimizu – Birdhouse
Caylee Shimizu is a Brooklyn Based dance artist and dance/movement therapist. Her work aims to embody and reflect the intricacies of the human experience. Through movement connections between movers, viewers, the music, and the environment are explored by asking how we can build empathetic relationships and be present with each other.
At its core, the piece will be a celebration of life, from honoring the lives of those who came before us to cherishing the lives that we have. As we intertwine with the lives of the people who visit the space, the movement will support the viewers’ experience by transporting them away from the chaos of the urban surroundings into a new dimension where time and space are controlled by the dancers. The movement quality will be organic while architecturally mirroring the site, to complement its beauty and work harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Thus, the dancers will become integrated into the total ecosystem. There will be five dancers and the approximate run time will be 15 – 20 minutes.
Lisa Hein and Robert Seng – ROW
Lisa Hein and Robert Seng are a Brooklyn-based artist team focused on-site rather than medium. Recent projects have used moving light, boiling fats, stealth textiles, and Jello bricks to add life to places and occasions. The prototypes for these configurations are found in three pieces of our shared history.
ROW is an audio installation for the Naval Cemetery Landscape. It consists of the sound of a wooden skiff being rowed through the water, reproduced in alternating locations beneath the boardwalk. The sound fades up and down as if boats were passing by unseen. ROW imagines a quieter stream beneath adjacent rivers of traffic and tides. The Styx divides the living from the dead, and many we know, as well as the unknowns still buried here, are crossing over. Others who traverse include Revolutionary captives bound for British prison ships, international migrants, and Bob’s fellow sailors in the US Navy.