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Ecological consciousness credit John Maggiotto 27

Levee Proposal for Louis Valentino Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Artist
Jean Shin

Location
Louis Valentino Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn

One of sixteen projects in the 2018 exhibition Ecological Consciousness: Artist as Instigator.

Ecological consciousness credit John Maggiotto 24

Photo: John Maggiotto

Ecological consciousness credit John Maggiotto

Photo: John Maggiotto

Ecological consciousness credit John Maggiotto 23

Photo: John Maggiotto

Jean Shin proposed a massive levee of denim sandbags for Louis Valentino Park on the Red Hook shoreline in Brooklyn. This was a direct response to Hurricane Sandy, which transformed the neighborhood where the artist has her studio and lives nearby. Created from cast-off jeans, the project invited residents to engage in emergency readiness while developing long-term solutions for the community and city in order to protect ourselves. In the gallery, her proposal was presented with sandbags created from denim collected from the Bronx, including the Wave Hill community. Shin had 46 inches of saltwater damage in her studio, and sandbags were not readily available—not to mention heavy and difficult to handle. Her project builds community resilience and asks how do we prepare for these situations and learn from them. In this model, each pair of jeans was kept together, and this sculpture of salvaged denim became anthropomorphic, emphasizing physicality and involvement of the body. Shin explains, “It’s a wall of people, not just a technical way of reducing and being stewards of the environment, but really it’s the people that need to come together to think of bigger ideas—think of how we’re going to change our habits of living and where we live to deal with climate action.”