Rachel Bacon

Flotsam, 2010




This installation was inspired by the multi-layered history of Governors Island and an understanding of both individual and collective nostalgia. The 1:1 scale model in paper of a broken Grumman aluminum canoe is juxtaposed with another paper model of a birch tree, (used by Native-Americans to make canoes), based on one that is now growing on Governors Island, and a paper globe/beach ball.


Paper models, 300 x 350 x 600 cm, 2010


Flotsam was made during a Swing Space residency from March 15th to July 25th, 2010, with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) in New York City on Governors Island and supported by a grant from Stroom Den Haag.


The canoe is modeled on a type manufactured by Grumman, a corporation that mainly makes airplanes and warships for the military, recalling the long connection of the Island with the military services. The installation  recalls the shift since the arrival of the Dutch settlers in the early 17th century from a relatively harmonious relationship of the inhabitants and users of the island with the natural world to a much more adversarial one.


While the Grumman canoe can refer to the island’s military history, perhaps it also triggers recollections of peaceful, bucolic, summertime experiences, serving as a reminder of a harmonious interlude with nature that is now past.




Floating World, a group show of all the LMCC Swing Space residents, took place on Governors Island in October 2010, in Building 110. Photos: The Friendly Falcons