Dark Side of the Woon

Written by stoisher

January 18th – February 25th
Dirt Palace – 14 Olneyville Sq Providence, RI 02909
 Friday Jan 18th 6-7pm
Sto Len in conversation with luthier, musician, and Woonasquatucket paddle guide Erik Tallery

Do you know the Woonasquatucket River? To know is to go. Its to see, feel, listen, smell, walk, ride, and even fall in. Its to share stories. To hop fences, feed the eels chicken, and have a secret spot. The Woon is ubiquitous yet unseen, its involuntary power of invisibility gets stronger the more we ignore it. While we have our backs to the water, it surges with power and endlessly flows through the city carrying with it a storied people’s history. Under the highways and bridges we made, under the ground we soiled, the Woony is live streaming, day and night, just for you.
It is the bloodstream of the city, naturally pumping with fish and nutrients while seasoned with the industrial by-products of the revenue stream. The lab results show traces of dioxin and greed: toxicity but not a toxic city.

Sto Len is a NY-based artist and waterway worker, who came to Providence this past December to get to know the Woonasquatucket. On “waterwalks” that followed the river’s edge and a canoe trip through the most polluted sites, Sto explored the more hidden areas of the river and documented his discoveries. Dark Side of the Woon features photographs, video, found artifacts, and site-specific mono prints. These “Chemotrophic Prints” were created with iron-oxidizing bacteria found near Lyman Mill Pond at the Centredale Superfund Site. Working en plein air (often from a boat), Sto uses his own marbling-like process to print directly off of the surface of water with paper. The end results are ghostly imprints that contain both the natural and anthropogenic residue of the site’s history. Recent collaborations in the waterways of New York, Colombia, and Vietnam has enabled Sto’s studio to be as large as a river and a practice that is both nomadic and global. Dark Side of the Woon documents Sto’s initial trips on the Woonasquatucket, a journey that will continue to evolve over time.

Supported through the Art Culture and Tourism department, as part of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts project, the Dirt Palace will be commissioning artists to make new work in conversation with the river, its history, and the future plans for the neighborhood greenway.

Dark Side of the Woon is now on view 24 hours a day- go see it!!

I had a wonderful time installing my window installation at the long-standing feminist collective art space the Dirt Palace. There are mono-prints I created in the river using iron-oxidizing bacteria, various artifacts I collected, photos I took during my walking trips, video from an icey cold canoe ride as well as amazing drone footage of the watershed, and a blacklight installation that features glowing water bottles, a disco ball and a large scale xerox copied photograph from my boat ride. The conversation with Erik Talley was really engaging and fun to do in front of a town hall style crowd. Here are some pics from the windows below.

Sto Len is a NY-based artist and waterway worker, who came to Providence this past December to get to know the Woonasquatucket. On “waterwalks” that followed the river’s edge and a canoe trip through the most polluted sites, Sto explored the more hidden areas of the river and documented his discoveries. DarkSideof the Woonfeatures photographs, video, found artifacts, and site-specific mono prints. These “Chemotrophic Prints” were created with iron-oxidizing bacteria found near Lyman Mill Pond at the Centredale Superfund Site. Working en plein air (often from a boat), Sto uses his own marbling-like process to print directly off of the surface of water with paper. The end results are ghostly imprints that contain both the natural and anthropogenic residue of the site’s history. Recent collaborations in the waterways of New York, Colombia, and Vietnam has enabled Sto’s studio to be as large as a river and a practice that is both nomadic and global. 

Dark Side of the Woon documents Sto’s initial trips on the Woonasqutucket, a journey that will continue to evolve over time.