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Art Show: The Abyss

Redbird Reef

by Melissa Wotherspoon

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Art: Redbird Reef by Artist Melissa Wotherspoon
When I first heard that the NYC Transit had begun to deploy their Redbird subway fleet (of thirteen hundred, 40,000 pound subway cars) into the ocean to establish reef communities, I was at once amused (at the idea of a subway, now in a more literal - or littoral (look it up!) - sense of the word), disturbed (as I am disturbed at the thought of shipwrecks laying hauntingly silent in the depths), and angered (by the ecological justification for dumping human-made garbage into the water). By the time the subway cars "sink to their new lows", they have been stripped of their greasy undercarriage, their windows and their seats. Their purpose is not necessarily to establish a coral reef (because that kind of delicate ecosystem can take hundreds of years to build), but the cars do serve as a substrate for organisms like mussels, and provide cave-like refuge for many species of fish. I am still troubled by the fact that these things end up in our natural environment. It is sadly more economical to "trash and splash" these cars (and to keep trashing and splashing these cars) than to reuse them. Money, rather than proactive, intelligent environmental stewardship seems to make this world go 'round. The cars in all likelihood are completely corroded and have lost all of the glossy red blush of their youth, but I wanted to depict a subway car in all its glory, lights blazing in the murky waters, to add to the unsettling incongruence of the "Redbird Reef".

Detail Images

Detail Image for art Redbird Reef

Detail Image for art Redbird Reef


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