River To Creek was a participatory research project and art action that drew attention to the geographic and ecological connections across the industrial landscape of North Brooklyn, from the wild empty lots at the end of Newtown Creek in Bushwick to the East River at the edge of Greenpoint. The collaborators applied their practices in dance, marine and restoration ecology and visual and installation art to the exploration of natural and human-made elements of the site. Public events included walks, bike rides, plant and bird identification, chemical testing of water, talks on the history of development and pollution, and participatory art and dance experiences along the shores of the East River and Newtown Creek.
Paul Benney lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied Theater Arts and Dance at U.C. Santa Cruz and co-directed OnSite Dance Company in San Francisco with Jessica Lutes for twelve years before moving to New York in 2002. He was a Movement Research Artist in Resident in 2003, and he continues his performance related work with TRYST, a collaborative arts group based in New York. His varied performance experience includes stints with the underground Rock pioneers The Residents, Joe Goode Performance Group, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Zaccho Dance Theater, and David Neumann’s Advanced Beginners Group, among others.
His collage practice began in earnest when he moved to NYC. Inspired by the changing visual landscape of the city, a desire to explore new neighborhoods, and a love of composition, he started photographing and collecting visual detritus such as menus, newspapers, and maps. He makes collage as a way to both catalogue and transpose into his environment by reinterpreting this visual information.
He teaches Recreational Arts at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn.