Sweet Creek, Digesters, and The Anthropocene

A collaboration by Sarah Greenbaum and Robert Pounding

A video triptych accompanied by a sound composition of field recordings, Sweet Creek, Digesters and The Anthropocene juxtaposes footage collected within a one-mile radius of Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Unfolding from “nature walks” around the estuary, as well as Greenpoint’s industrial zones and green spaces, this collaborative project observes local systems of water supply and treatment, food distribution, and waste management. The unfixed triptych flows and gurgles with images of water gliding over urban surfaces as it makes the rounds from sprinkler to sewer to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s futuristic egg-shaped “digesters.” Modes of transportation signify the underlying transference of resources and waste that filter through cities: food delivery trucks round corners, while boats carry compacted waste out of the city to be used as fertilizer elsewhere. Amidst drab monuments of human “progress,” nature resiliently proliferates. On the fringe of this residential neighborhood, a woman crabs in the toxic creek where wildlife has begun to re-emerge after two centuries of industrial abuse. In comparison, attempts to reinstate the natural within a paved metropolis appear contrived, amputated. At a Sunday Farmers Market, vendors exhibit vibrant bounty arranged tidily in plastic acid-green produce baskets. A new ecology emerges. A crucial gesture in community embeddedness and collaboration, Sweet Creek, Digesters and The Anthropocene witnesses the complexity of contemporary humans’ relationship and responsibility to the environment.

Sarah Greenbaum is from East Hampton, NY. Her work ranges from traditional to abstract paintings and video. Sarah is interested in waste and the effects that inorganic material and pollution have on the landscape and the environment. Her work represents not only a result of research and facts but a personal interpretation and physical reaction to the changing natural environment. 

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Robert Pounding is a composer and sound designer who lives Brooklyn, NY and originally hails from a small town on the Oregon Coast. He is interested in the blending of musical and non-musical elements, often integrating conventional instrumentation with field recordings and noise. He is both enamored and disturbed by his surroundings in New York City and attempts to represent this ambivalence through his work.