About The Newtown Creek Armada

The Newtown Creek Armada is an art installation that invites the public to explore the past, present and future of a contaminated New York City waterway. The Newtown Creek, a Superfund site bordering Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States. In September 2012, visitors to The Armada piloted a fleet of artist-made, miniature, remote-controlled boats along the surface of the Newtown Creek while documenting the hidden world of its waters using waterproof video cameras.

The initial public art installation of The Newtown Creek Armada included a fleet of nine boats and three video portholes that transported viewers to voyages filmed in remote areas of the creek: Maspeth Creek, English Kills and Dutch Kills.  In 2013 these elements were transformed into a gallery installation, Remote Voyages, which included new voyages filmed by visitors to The Armada.  The boats, voyages and portholes of The Armada have been exhibited in numerous galleries, festivals and conferences.

The artists of The Armada have embarked on a series of collaborations since the initial installation.  In 2013, they created Gowanus Voyage, a public art event and gallery installation on the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn’s other Superfunded waterway.  Gowanus Voyage was created in partnership with Brooklyn Atlantis, the NYU School of Engineering and Proteus Gowanus.  In 2014, the artists curated a group show, Combined Overflow, which brought together 20 projects engaging the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal by artists, scientists and citizens.

The Newtown Creek Armada is a collaboration between artists Laura Chipley, Nathan Kensinger, and Sarah Nelson Wright.  The initial installation in 2012 was presented in partnership with the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (nbART) and with support from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the North Brooklyn Boat Club. The Armada has received grants from the Hudson River Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, In Our Backyards (ioby), Macktez, and Feast Brooklyn. It has been made possible through the support of many community organizations and individuals. Please visit our Supporters page.


Photos from The Newtown Creek Armada at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk in September, 2012:

(Photos by Nathan Kensinger)

The video preview for The Newtown Creek Armada: