Winner! The Great Trans-Gowanus Cable

Awarded $1000 FEAST grant

PROJECT SUMMARY : The Great Trans-Gowanus Cable

We will be building a telegraph along and across the Gowanus Canal, from the corner of Second St. and Second Ave. to the corner of Third St. and Third Ave. At either end of the telegraph wire will be stations outfitted with vintage telegraph keys and a guide to Morse Code. Posted will be Morse’s famous transmission: “What Hath God Wrought.” Passerby will be able transmit their answers to this question (with brevity), as well as receive responses. All sent messages will also be transmitted to us, off-site (call it wire-tapping; call it what you will).

How will your proposal manifest at the next FEAST?
As participants answer the question “What Hath God Wrought?”, their morse code answers and communications are digitally recorded to disk and translated for presentation at the next FEAST as a slideshow presentation through the duration of the event.

How will you use funding (approx $500-$700) towards the realization of your project?
The “technology” required is relatively inexpensive (it’s been around for centuries). Costs include vintage telegraphs, a microcontroller, materials for a “Telegraph Station” and a very long cable.

Microcontroller: $120
Vintage Telegraph Relays (manufactured in Brooklyn!) $50.
“The Great Trans-Gowanus Cable” $200 for 1000ft.
Materials for a telegraph station: Virtually free, from the street.

Why is this project critical to the FEAST community? (max 100 words)
Brooklynites spend a lot of time documenting changes in our space; unprecedented and unbridled housing/development boom has ramped up (rightly so) our attention to what spaces were and are. Our goal is anthrogeographical: we want to highlight that people are talking and thinking about the Gowanus Canal in many of the same ways that they were just after the Civil War, by implementing a communication technology that requires interacting with the landscape in the same fashion that it would have been then. The Gowanus Canal, while obviously changing in some ways, has actually remained rather constant over the last 100+ years. It made headlines in 1877 for being “Very Vile” and just this week for its proposed designation as a Superfund site.

After the completion of its residency along the canal, we will move the telegraph to other Brooklyn locations that have similar closed loops of history.

Thanks again for your consideration. Sincerely,

Benjamin Cohen & Sierra Pettengill
Director, The Gowanus Studio Space Inc.