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300,000 aluminum cans, recycled and cast into cracked clay, form a pavilion for an arts festival on NYC's Governors Island this summer.
300,000 aluminum cans, recycled and cast into cracked clay, form a pavilion for an arts festival on NYC's Governors Island this summer.
261 backers pledged $31,448 to help bring this project to life.

WE ARE LIVE

Posted by Josh, Lisa, Powell, Ted, and Max (Creator)
3 likes
Hey backers, 

WE ARE LIVE. The pavilion has officially been living on Governors Island for one week and it is even better than we imagined. Thank you  for making it possible. Come out and see it! It's next to Castle Williams on the north shore of Governors Island. Here's a map:

Cast & Place Map
Cast & Place Map

Ferries to Governors Island run from from Manhattan at the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street next to the Staten Island Ferry and from Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6. The ferries are free running weekdays from 10am to 6pm and weekends from 10am to 7pm. Ferry schedule is here: https://govisland.com/info/ferry

Now that we can sit back, put our feet up, and watch the clay crack, it is easy to say that we handled all obstacles with effortless poise. But the week leading up to the opening day was certainly a bit hectic. Here’s how it all went down: 

Our first step on the site was to stake out the location of the pavilion on the site. Once we had it laid out to ensure the perfect views of the city through the lattice, we started digging. And by digging I mean hacking through plastic ground-stabilizing geocells with a pick-axe to be able to peel away pieces of sod. 

Pick axing the sod and geocells
Pick axing the sod and geocells

The sod took a big team effort to peel up:
Pulling up and moving sod was a big team effort
Pulling up and moving sod was a big team effort
 
Even though it looks flat, the site actually slopes down about 10 inches. Getting it level was crucial for our structure and for our trays of sopping wet clay. First to arrive on site (after being held up for a few hours due to an island power outage), was the wood for the clay trays. We carefully flattened the gravel below the sod with the plywood then laid out the clay trays at about a 2 degree slope. We might have made the entire project level but we were limited to a maximum 6" of excavation on the Island. Below that depth there is the chance of unexploded ordinance! So, we worked carefully within that constraint. The angle of the slope is almost imperceptible but it actually helps the clay trays drain - a good thing.
Suzanne and Dan level the site with Josh (behind the camera)
Suzanne and Dan level the site with Josh (behind the camera)
Next got the plywooed clay trays fully seal, connected and the rails attached! The rails on site are almost exactly the same as the ones we used to dry and crack clay when we were casting panels. The overall idea: show the process of making the project (cracked clay as mold) in the project itself. 

The clay trays ready for the pavilion (and clay)
The clay trays ready for the pavilion (and clay)
Next, the panels arrived. They are surprisingly light and pretty easy to move. 

Ted and Scot move a panel to our site next to Castle Williams
Ted and Scot move a panel to our site next to Castle Williams

Finally, the steel frame arrived and with all the parts in place, a big team assembled to put it all together.

Powell, LIsa and Adan put a panel in to the frame
Powell, LIsa and Adan put a panel in to the frame

The pavilion quickly came together as we lifted panels in to the frame and screwed them in.

The whole team at work finishing the pavilion
The whole team at work finishing the pavilion

 The last pieces to put in were on the roof. LIfting them in was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle but we made it work.

Ted and Scot work with the roof panels
Ted and Scot work with the roof panels

We finished by laying out clay in small chunks in the trays then saturating them. This let us transfer clay from Grounds for Sculpture without water (much lighter!) . It also tends to crack faster.

Gabriel, Josette and Jessica lay out the clay
Gabriel, Josette and Jessica lay out the clay

WIth the pavilion installed and the clay wet and screeded, we replaced the sod under the pavilion (we saved about 100 sf of sod for this) and...we went live! 

The completed pavilion
The completed pavilion

 The FIGMENT festival happened all around it and on it. Many photos were taken.

FIGMENT celebrates!
FIGMENT celebrates!

And people made their marks in the wet clay. Who could resist? To be honest, we want this to be a kind of Zen garden - a scape of cracked clay. But releasing control during the festival was a relief - we let people start to draw and, at that moment, the pavilion really became a part of FIGMENT. In the coming weeks, we'll work on making the clay clean and cracked. But for now, FIGMENT has left its marks.

The clay became a canvas during FIGMENT
The clay became a canvas during FIGMENT

But the life of the pavilion has really just begun. The second day of FIGMENT, the clay started to crack and, with that, the project is becoming what we imagined.

Cracked clay - void and solid, mold and casting
Cracked clay - void and solid, mold and casting

Come out and see the pavilion! It's up all summer until August 27th.

Thanks everyone!!

- The Cast & Place Team

Hooman Koliji, Demi Fang, and 1 more person like this update.

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