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Swimming Cities traverse the Ganges, 2011: Finish the Boats!!'s video poster

No sleep til India! The latest installment of Swimming Cities brings handmade rafting and boating to the New York Harbor and way, way beyond. Read more

Brooklyn, NY Sculpture
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pledged of $5,750 goal
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This project was successfully funded on October 22, 2010.

No sleep til India! The latest installment of Swimming Cities brings handmade rafting and boating to the New York Harbor and way, way beyond.

Brooklyn, NY Sculpture
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About this project

Swimming Cities is so close to completing the floating island of five boats to take to India!

We have five freshly painted stainless steel pontoon boats on the Gowanus Canal that are currently getting their final inspection for leaks and ready to test our motorcycle drive systems. Since the launch of our first boat, Belle, in February of this year, we've come a long way and raised $15,000 so far with our fundraiser events. Our blood, sweat, and tears operation at Serett Metalworks (aka Gowanus Ballroom) is culminating in the first assembly of the "radial", a star-shaped formation of the five boats linked together, and we are just a matter of days away. Our Kickstarter goal of $5,750 would give us the boost we need to seal the boats, finish the drive systems, and invite you all to come for our unveiling cocktail party for linking the boats for the first time after a year's work.

Maker Faire Chariot Races | Boat Launch Video all videos by Marin Tockman

"A Gathering of Tinkerers" -Wall Street Journal

The Ocean of Blood on Newtown Creek -Laughing Squid

photo by lopi laroe
Who are We?

Swimming Cities is a a diverse and evolving group of artists, mechanics, carpenters, performers, engineers, organizers, photographers and friends. This year, we are raising funds solely through our events (art auctions, dance parties, and more), this kickstarter, out of our own pockets, and from supporters like you. We recently got fiscal sponsorship from New York Foundation for the Arts, so we can seek out bigger grants and operate as a non-profit! We are an all-volunteer crew pulling long hours, and we welcome hands-on help of all kinds as well - please join our mailing list to find out how you can come get involved.

What are We Doing?

The current project "The Ocean of Blood" will take us to India, from the foothills of the Himalayas and traverse the Ganges River from Hardiwar to the holy city of Varanasi.

We will work with local industry and artistry to create our traveling art environment and performance venue. In a cultural exchange with local South Asian artists and artisans, we will stop in towns and villages along the way to collaborate with local craftsmen to customize and embellish our boats in the local style. We'll arrive complete in Varanasi, said to be the oldest living city in the world. On its banks the boats will merge to form a floating island theater, on which we will present a visual and musical event .

But Why?

We are on a quest to turn people on. We want to turn on the part of their brain that is turned off when they watch tv. We are the antithesis of television. We are interactive! We make a little impact on each and every person we come into contact with, from schoolchildren to fishermen to local craftspeople. In turn, they influence what our project becomes. This is improvisational theater taken to a whole new level, outside of the theater, into the world at large. The end result will be something we could never have planned because of the unknown. The unknown is the wild card that keeps us going, its the hook that drives us forward. When we reach Varanasi we will be traveling in vessels that hold the unknown, and that beauty we will meet along the way.

Because life is boring without art and art should be expanded beyond the confines of the gallery world. Because the process of discovery is so important to the future of human kind. We need to find new ways to be in the world that are not dictated by someone wearing a suit. Unless it's a boating suit, then we are all ears.

Art cannot be contained and neither can we. Not by national borders or cultural norms. We are ambassadors of art. We are a floating cultural exchange program. We are pirates; we bring booty. Why? Because we can.

Come ride boats with us! We have several events coming up soon in New York City -- join our mailing list to stay updated by e-mailing or find us on Facebook.


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  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    20 backers All gone!

    You will receive a limited-edition silkscreened hand-sewn bandanna featuring original mandala art from our collective.

  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    Grab one of the last ten of our limited edition silkscreened hand-sewn bandannas featuring original mandala art from our collective.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    16 backers Limited (184 left of 200)

    You will receive admission for two and four drink tickets to our next event, in mid-October, at the Gowanus Hotel Ballroom. It's a dance party.

  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    Meghan Keys of Llaves Designs will create a custom pinata of anything that needs to get beat in your life: politicians, enemies, all-too-fragile hearts. She does portraits! * Provide catharsis for any occasion...

    * Swimming Cities is not responsible for vengeful voodoo hauntings. Also, shipping not included /no international shipping available.

  • You selected
    Pledge $135 or more

    5 backers Limited (15 left of 20)

    You will receive a postcard from our trip to India made by our crew, sent to anyone of your choice.

  • You selected
    Pledge $800 or more

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    You and three of your guests will enjoy a voyage on one of our boats to a mystery location in the New York waterways...


Funding period

- (30 days)