Just when you think no conceptual art project could possibly top Robert Smithson's epic installation of his Floating Island, we find this: A Tree for Anable Basin—or, as it is hereby dubbed, the Floating Aluminum Tree. Originally created for a Long Island City design competition back in 2005, the Floating Aluminum Tree is set to launch into Anable Basin this freaking Saturday. (Anable Basin, you may recall, is the small inlet of watery muck off the East River in Hunters Point, seen top left above). Please, before continuing, study the above images very carefully. Then study them again.
The project press release:
A Tree for Anable Basin, NY is 24' high by 24' wide aluminum tree with wood birdhouses that sits on a floating island housing flora and fauna. The sculpture is designed to reflect the historical interplay between industrial and ecological activity that shaped Anable Basin, the transforming waterfront of Long Island City/ East River, where industrial structures give way to high-rise condominiums. This metallic natural form functions as a "condominium for birds" set in a panoramic urban landscape. It is designed to emote the displacement of nature, specifically of migratory water birds by industrial activity and urban development.
This public art sculpture tells the story of NYC's waterfront past, present and future, giving the birds not just a sanctuary, but a place in history. Responding to the ceaseless tension between permanence and transition that informs urban landscapes, the tree is deliberately not grounded -- without roots it can float along the waterways, move with the ebb and flow of the tide, its metal branches softly blowing in the wind.
Astounding. A metallic home for migratory water birds—birds, we assume, that will be sedated heavily enough to learn to love their new waterborne home. Shall we dig into the details a bit deeper? Of course:
Four heavy weights anchor the island! Pontoons that allow it to sit on the bottom at low tide! Cohabitating birds can get their crazy on in the "wood" part of this tree! Oh, the glory of it all. All in all, we're expecting a launch to equal, if not exceed, that of the Red Hook submarine. Floating Aluminum Tree, please don't let us down.
· A Tree for Anabele Basin [anabletree.com]
· Hunters Point Mindfuck: From Basin to Amazin' [Curbed]