With Your Voice

This work is part of Points of Promise, an umbrella initiative; learn more about it here.

This work is part of Common Build, an umbrella initiative; learn more about it here.

Contents

    Coming soon! Created by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas, With Your Voice will envision the major changes coming to Gowanus, Brooklyn.

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    About

    Launching soon — stay tuned for updates!

    In 2021, the New York City Council approved the Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, transforming (or “rezoning”) former manufacturing sites into residential and mixed-use properties, including an estimated 8,200 new apartments.

    Residents and community organizers have been working to ensure current Gowanus residents benefit from the rezoning. Their advocacy resulted in the 56 Points of Agreement (POAs) — commitments made by New York City to support housing, infrastructure, public space, community amenities, and business programs. In total, NYC will invest $450 million for these improvements in Gowanus. Approximately $200 million of that total will address high priority needs in Gowanus’ NYCHA developments.

    Created by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas, With Your Voice envisions change resulting from the 56 Points of Agreement. Megaphoned-shaped sculptures called “Voicers” will be installed across Gowanus, each showing images of that how that location will be impacted by the POAs. Whether you’re a Gowanus resident, worker, or visitor, these changes will affect your life. You’re invited to look through the Voicers, flip through images, and see what change could look like. How will these changes affect you? We want to hear from you! Scan the QR code next to each Voicer to fill out a survey or leave a voice message.

    Responses will be shared with the Gowanus Oversight Task Force, a diverse and representative group of community volunteers that advance the POAs by meeting every three months with city agencies. Your voice will help them illustrate and humanize the POAs to make sure the city stays on track and keeps its promises.

    This project would not have been possible without the generosity of Bednark Studio Inc., Silman, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the collaboration of Brooklyn Public Library, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Department of Environment Protection, NYC Department of City Planning, NYC Parks, Domain Companies, PMG, SCAPE, and Avery Hall.

    More information and Voicer locations coming soon!

    About the Artists

    Juanli Carrión’s work has unfolded over the past decade in the research, development, and education of community-engaged design and artistic practices addressing social and environmental justice. Over the past decade, Carrión has followed the Gowanus Canal’s changes and challenges up close. As Assistant Professor of Creative Community Development at Parsons School of Design, he has used the Canal as a case study for his Sustainable Systems Practices course, in which students map the pollution of waterways using pH reactive natural dyes. He is the co-founder of OSS Project Inc. and his work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, BRIC, ARTIUM, MUSAC, CentroCentro, MAC Lima, India’s National Gallery of Modern Art, and Serbia’s MOCA. His research has been presented at Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, AIA New York, National Academy of Sciences, and Getty Institute, among others.

    Rodolfo Kusulas is a transdisciplinary creator with a deep passion for social innovation and sustainability who uses his work as a tool to help communities thrive. With experience working internationally, he has a background in industrial design, extensive experience in branding, product and retail. After winning a global competition for the 140th anniversary of Heineken, Kusulas joined VBAT as a creative in the Latin American office. Since 2018, he’s developed programmatic design and creative community development work with KOUS studio, which he co-founded in 2016, and in collaboration with artists and nonprofit organizations.

    As a duo, Carrión and Kusulas share interest in transdisciplinary research about how art and design can be used to visualize the layers of identity that compose communities. They transform stories, data, materials, actions or information into art and design strategies that serve as tools for sustainable community development. This manifests in community lead initiatives including public art that becomes urban agriculture, product design and art pieces that become small businesses as supplemental source of revenue, interactive murals and workshops that become tools for education on water pollution and jewelry that becomes therapeutic tools to confront environmental devastation.

    Finalists

    Finalist submissions for the 2023 iteration of the Points of Promise.

    Podwalk

    “Designed for a variety of levels of engagement, this podwalk combines mini-podcast episodes with a walking tour bringing people to eight locations in Gowanus, beginning at the 9th Street bridge and ending at Thomas Greene Playground, to highlight both community benefits garnered through the Points of Agreement and reveal the stories behind them told by community members who were instrumental in advocating for and negotiating the agreements, and/or who are or will be influenced by their implementation.”

    End the Loop

    “This proposal seeks to keep residents and business owners “in the loop” by converting existing vehicles presently providing services to the community and pilot them as a medium to disseminate information, broadcast resident’s voices, and support the thriving culture and diverse community present in Gowanus. Adapting local vans, such as the Memory Center mobile bus, the proposal indents to preserve and cultivate the Gowanus community identity in the midst of rapid neighborhood development due to zoning changes, before it all becomes a memory.”

    Who We’re Working With


    Supporters


    Selection Committee

    Andreas Tyre

    President,

    Gowanus Houses Resident Association

    Bahij Chancey

    Planner, WXY Studio;

    Gowanus Oversight Task Force member;

    former Van Alen Fellow

    Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic

    Associate Director at Resilient Cities Catalyst;

    Gowanus Oversight Task Force member

    Diana Gruberg

    Landscape Director, Gowanus Canal Conservancy

    Elisa Smilovitz

    Gowanus Mutual Aid;

    former Van Alen Fellow

    Frank Dubinsky

    Chief Operating Officer, Monadnock Development

    Nilda Lino

    Game Changer Membership Consultant, Assure for Life;

    Gowanus Oversight Task Force member

    Tony Ruiz

    Communications Committee Co-Chair, Gowanus Oversight Task Force;

    MSW ’24, NYU


    Resources