In 2007, I started a year-long project at the Ridgewood Reservoir in collaboration with thread collective, a Brooklyn-based architecture team, and dance artists Mariangela Lopez, Maggie Bennett and Charlotte Gibbons and composer Kenta Negai.
Our research included visits to the site with Mike Feller, Chief Naturalist of the Natural Resource Group of the NYC Parks Department; Andrew Greller, Professor Emeritus, Biology at Queens College; John Waldman, Professor of Biology, Queens College and Uli Lorimer, Curator of Native Flora, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, as well as members of the Brooklyn Bird Club including, bird census coordinator Heidi Steiner, Steve Nanz, Rob Jett and Al Ott.
We became intimately knowledgeable of the unusual rare ecologies thriving in this 60-acre bit of urban wilderness as well as the ways that the communities engaged with and enjoyed the area.This influenced the choreographic research that resulted in fall, spring and summer performances. The attention this project brought to the reservoir instigated a community of neighbors and others committed to conserving this special area as the site became hotly contested for different kinds of development.
We are absolutely thrilled to announce that this month the Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that the majority of the area has received wetland delineation.
This was the final part the battle to save Ridgewood Reservoir. We now have wetland protection as well as protection under the National Register of Historic Place. Parks has been persuaded to preserve Ridgewood as a wildlife sanctuary and has initiated the first step toward that plan.
If you are interested you can see the results of some of our research here as well as a video of the fall performance of iMAP/Ridgewood Reservoir. http://www.ilandart.org/dance-project/imap-ridgewood-reservoir/
Here’s to art as a transformative cultural and political force!
yours in creative collaboration,
Special thanks to the MAP Fund and NYSCA for believing in this project and funding it!