Spencer Finch: The River That Flows Both Ways


Inspired by the Hudson River, The River That Flows Both Ways is a project by Spencer Finch that documents a 700-minute (11 hours, 40 minutes) journey on the river in a single day.

On June 12, 2008, from a tugboat drifting on Manhattan’s west side and past the High Line, Finch photographed the river’s surface once every minute. The color of each pane of glass was based on a single pixel point in each photograph and arranged chronologically in the tunnel’s existing steel mullions. Time is translated into a grid, reading from left to right and top to bottom, capturing the varied reflective and translucent conditions of the water’s surface.

Much of Finch’s work relies on scientific, or at least methodological process, to re-present natural occurrences or phenomenon. I really enjoy the processes involved in his work and his continuing translation of information and data, or at times, the failure thereof.



A project by xClinic Environmental Health Clinic at NYU and the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, AMPHIBIOUS ARCHITECTURE attempts to generate a new dialogue between the environment and us.

The description, quoted from the site, since it’s more clear than my attempt at synthesizing the information would be:

“Installed at two sites along the East and the Bronx Rivers in New York, the project is a network of floating interactive buoys housing a range of sensors below water and an array of LEDs above water. The sensors monitor water quality, the presence of fish, and human interest in the river’s ecosystem, while the lights respond to the sensors, creating feedback loops between humans, fish in their shared environment.

Additionally an SMS interface allows homo-citizens to text-message the fish and receive real-time information about the river, contributing towards the collective display of human interest in the aquatic environment. The aim of which is to simultaneously spark a larger public interest and dialogue about our local waterways.”


These are the sensors lit up before being installed in the river. To see some video of the sensors actually installed and floating, you’ll have to check out the site’s landing page.


This is an image of some of the sensors lit up, being activated by passing fish, water conditions, and text messages. It’s an amazing cool project, especially given our proximity and recent interest in imagining some kind of Detroit River based project.

Anne Percoco’s “Indra’s Cloud”

Anne Percoco's "Indra's Cloud"

Since we do have “access” to a fairly large river–one which separates us from Detroit, Michigan–a project such as Anne Percoco‘s “Indra’s Cloud” could work to highlight similar pollution issues in our area. Our river is not generally used for bathing, but the one pictured has been used for years and is now raising serious health concerns. Anne’s commentary on the issue came in the form of a raft consructed from used plastic bottles and bound with recycled labels, which were used as rope.

In her words, “I created a mobile public sculpture which brings to life a local myth and draws attention to the severely polluted condition of the Yamuna River.”

Braiding Grass in Windsor

Leesa Bringas (along with some fellow Windsor artists) spent the weekend braiding the long grass at Great Western Park. The process leaves spirals of braided grass around shoots of flowers. It’s quite beautiful and seems meditative (though admittedly, I didn’t venture out to try myself).

Political issues of the strike aside, I quite like seeing the riverfront in a naturalized state, and it’s great that Leesa found such a quiet way to work with the space. Given the other activity in city parks over the weekend, this project is a welcomed intervention to the strike now going into its seventh week.

You can see more photos on Steven’s site, or more video on Darren’s site, or read more about the project on the Windsor Star.

Save A City

Save A City, Text on Ice by Broken City Lab, February 3, 2009

At Windsor’s riverfront, SAVE A CITY, installed this afternoon. We opted out of using monofilament to hang the blocks of ice because there was a nice snowbank already there, and probably the last thing the Detroit River needs is more garbage in it. I’ll post some photos of the process of making these soon (definitely before the weather gets too warm).