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Famed Sewer Explorer and Other Aquatic Artists Confront City's Waterfront

By Meredith Hoffman | November 5, 2013 8:36am | Updated on November 5, 2013 10:37am
 Nathan Kensinger has spent his time in New York documenting the city's waterways.
Nathan Kensinger has spent his time in New York documenting the city's waterways.
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Nathan Kensinger

WILLIAMSBURG — From wandering through sewer tunnels to floating on the East River in a handmade wooden boat, one group of artists will soon share their secrets about the dynamic waters of New York.

In "Views From the Water" artists representing waterways around the city will reveal their aquatic journeys and obsessions, as documentarian Nathan Kensinger questions them about their work.

"I want to know what drew them to the water and why they spent so many years exploring it," said Kensinger, who has also created water-focused projects since he moved to New York in 2003 and lived right by the Gowanus Canal. "They're all at the forefront of how to interact with New York's waterfront in a creative way."

The panel includes famous underground explorer Steve Duncan, who has photographed the city's subway and sewer tunnels and Marie Lorenz, who makes her own boats. Also featured are artist Laura Chipley, who worked with Kensinger on the Newtown Creek Armada documenting Newtown Creek, and Willis Elkins, a canoe instructor with North Brooklyn Boat Club.

Kensinger, who has long hoped to host such a discussion, said the timing was appropriate since New Yorkers had just begun to have a closer relationship with the water around them.

Not only did Hurricane Sandy remind people of the water surrounding them, but the city has increased its access to the coasts through parks and other waterfront recreation, he said.

"[The panel] looks at New York's past 10 years on the water and considers what the future will be," he said.

Views From the Water is Saturday at 9 p.m. at UnionDocs on 322 Union Ave. There is a $9 requested donation.