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We built five sculptural boats, are floating them 400 miles down the Ganges River to a 5-day show in Varanasi. Now we need to get home!
75 backers pledged $7,150 to help bring this project to life.

About

Swimming Cities India 2011: BRING US HOME!! project video thumbnail
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$7,150

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Journey:

Follow our journey landing in India, building our boats, and floating down the Ganges River - online at http://theoceanofblood.com/

Who we Are:

From our previous Kickstarter campaign, this video explains a bit about who were are and what our art projects aim to achieve. Our previous project was successfully funded, and is part of the reason we are in India now! Our current campaign aims to raise the funds necessary to bring all our crew, our boats, and all the art we've made along the way, Home. Thank you for your support!

Our Rewards (read about us below - but here is what you get for your donations!)

$3 - every pledge of $3 or more gets a Hello Kali 1" button - the official mascot of the Ocean of Blood crew!

$12 or more - you will receive a hand-stamped linocut print of the "Radial" graphic carved by Orien McNeill on a 4"x6" postcard (it is not the image below, but it will be just as fanciful!)

$25 or more - you will receive a silkscreened and hand-sewn bandana designed by Angie Kang featuring original mandala art from the collective:

$50 or more - you will receive a bandana (above) plus a DVD of Marin Tockman's documentary of our journey down the Ganges River. Tockman's independent feature documentaries have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, the Film Forum, IFC, and MoMA.

$150 or more - you will receive a bandana and DVD, along with a handmade, limited edition travelogue containing stories written by Porter Fox. Fox is the editor of Nowhere Magazine and was anthologized in the 2012 Best American Travel Writing.

$250 or more - you will receive a bandana, DVD, and a postcard mailed from India during our journey - you will also receive a one-of-a-kind photographic print by Ben Mortimer from the journey on the Ganges River (not one of the images below, but they give you an idea):

$500 or more - you will receive a first edition silkscreen print of Orien McNeill's "Gamelan Deathship", a robot gamelan orchestra that floats to the edges of the world. This print is approximately 20"x30" on high-quality artist rag paper. From a limited edition of 20 (6 available for this fundraiser, currently 3 remaining). Details of the print are below, and a high-res version can be found online here.

$1001 or more - we will put you up for a day & night on one of our flotilla's boats parked somewhere around the waterways of NYC - similar to our previous project in collaboration with Flux Factory and Constance Hackaday, the Bogg's Boatel, it was reported on Gothamist and the NY Times. We'll take you around the waterways and show you a NYC you've never seen before!

Who are We?

Swimming Cities is a a diverse and evolving group of artists, mechanics, carpenters, performers, engineers, organizers, photographers and friends that build sculptural boats and float them on waterways around the world. Variations of the group have traveled 800 miles on the Mississippi River, 200 miles down the Hudson, and across the Adriatic Sea - to crash the 2009 Venice Biennale!

We are not funded by grants. We raise money solely at parties, art auctions, out of our own pockets and with campaigns like this Kickstarter. We recently received fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, so we can operate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit! (i.e. you can write it off...)

What are We Doing?

The current Swimming Cities project, The Ocean of Blood, is set on India's Ganges River, at the foothills of the Himalayas, where we are traversing 400 miles from Farrukhabad downriver to the holy city of Varanasi. Last year, we built five stainless steel pontoon boats to use as a "foundation" for our boats. Each boat is 19 feet long and 8 feet wide - built specifically to fit under the floating bridges of the Ganges. They each have two folding platforms and fittings so all five can lock together in a single radial platform - for camping and working. Three of the boats are powered by motorcycles retrofitted to turn a paddlewheel. One uses a local diesel engine and long-tail propellor and one uses oars, a sail and a foil kite. (See boats here.)

But Why?

We are on a quest to do something different, to do something challenging to see if we can. We don't claim to teach or change anyone who sees the boats, yet onlookers are often changed and maybe a little inspired when they see our boats pulling up to dock. In turn, they influence what our project becomes, and that is one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip.

This is an interactive art installation taken to a whole new level. The power of the river, the history of the land and people we meet, all play into the art we create. As do the challenges of navigating and living on the water for a month. The end result is something we could never have planned because the bends in the river shape the final project. That's the wild card that keeps these trips interesting to us, and hopefully interesting to those onshore. These boats will be seen by thousands of people, and by the time we get to Varanasi, we hope a few go off and build one of their own.

Keep an eye on this page for updates from the river and please consider donating to bring us home. Sign up for our mailing list or on Facebook.

Timeline:

We have already begun putting the boats back together. We will take off from Farrukhabad on October 9th. We will be working with local artists to build up the boats into living and aesthetic vessels. We will stop in towns and villages along the way to collaborate with local craftsmen, pick up stowaways and embellish our boats in the local style. We'll arrive soon in Varanasi, said to be the oldest living city in the world, where the boats will merge during the Diwali Festival to form a giant floating sculpture.

A more-detailed timeline of our project can be found here.

Shortly after the festival, we will need to break down the boats for shipping, and ship ourselves back to Brooklyn. Your backing of this project will ensure our return and the success of this project which has been in the making for several years. Thank you.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    1" Button of Swimming Cities "Hello Kali" graphic, the original mascot of the Ocean of Blodo project: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanofblood/3866722616/in/set-72157623937440276

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Hand-stamped linocut print of the Swimming Cities "Radial" graphic carved by Orien McNeill on a 4"x6" Postcard

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    6 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A silkscreened, hand-sewn bandanna designed by Angie Kang featuring original mandala art from the collective.

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    25 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A bandana plus a director's cut DVD of Marin Tockman's documentary on Swimming Cities' journey down the Ganges River. Tockman is an independent documentary filmmaker whose production credits include work featured on PBS, NBC,
    MSNBC and the Sundance Channel, in addition to
    acclaimed independent feature documentaries that premiered at
    Sundance, SXSW, the Film Forum, IFC and MOMA. Her experimental Super 8 work has also screened at Coolidge Corner in Boston, MA and the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

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    19 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A bandana, a DVD and a signed copy of Swimming Cities on the Ganges - a handmade, limited edition travelogue written by Porter Fox and illustrated with photos by Ben Mortimer and artwork from the Swimming Cities collective. Each book will be bound from recycled materials in Swimming Cities style, and cover the journey from Brooklyn to India. Fox is the editor of Nowhere Magazine and was anthologized in the 2012 Best American Travel Writing. See Ben Mortimer's photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notontv/

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Handmade postcard mailed from India to anyone of your choice by one of our crew - also button, bandana, DVD, and one-of-a-kind photographic print by Ben Mortimer from the Ocean of Blood journey down the Ganges River.

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    0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    First edition silkscreen print of Orien McNeill's "Gamelan Deathship" , a robot gamelan orchestra ship that floats unmanned to the edges of the world. http://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanofblood/5447489576/in/set-72157626052801380

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,001 or more About $1,001

    Sometime before the end of next Summer, we will put you up for a day & night on one of our flotilla's boats parked somewhere around the waterways of NYC - similar to our previous project in collaboration with Flux Factory and Constance Hackaday, the Bogg's Boatel, it was reported on Gothamist and the NY Times. We'll take you around the waterways and show you a NYC you've never seen before!

    Read about the Bogg's Boatel on Gothamist (http://gothamist.com/2011/07/11/hot_new_vaction_floating_hotel_in_f.php) and NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/arts/design/boggsville-boatel-constance-hockadays-jamaica-bay-project.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all)

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Funding period

- (39 days)