Jessica Max Stein

Queering Greenpeace on a Boat

Filed By Jessica Max Stein | February 02, 2012 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: Greenpeace, MIX NYC, Rainbow Warrior III, recycling

It's not every weekend you get to help save the earth and hang out on a brand-new trilevel 200-foot yacht, but due to a unique collaboration between Greenpeace and queer organization MIX NYC, I recently enjoyed this privilege.

IMG_8187.jpgIn an unexpected partnership, MIX NYC - producers of the New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, now in its 24th year - was hired by Greenpeace to create two installations for their new boat, the Rainbow Warrior III, turning a tent on the helipad and "the mess" (the dining area) into a gorgeous jungle of repurposed materials.

"People have preconceptions of Greenpeace, but it's a constantly evolving organization," says Greenpeace media officer James Turner. "That's part of why this collaboration is so nice for us." Despite the group's largely straight reputation, Turner says, Greenpeace strives to be "an open and inclusive organization." "We have good LGBT representation both in our offices and our ship crews [including] several staff members in the US and on our ships who identify as queer," says Turner. "We are serious about dealing with injustice in whatever form it takes - it's just that our primary mission is the environment."

The installations re-used discarded synthetic materials from city agency Materials for the Arts, which recommended MIX NYC as a possible candidate for the project. Diego Montoya, designer for the space, feels the recycled materials reflect not just earth-friendly principles but also the MIX aesthetic: repurposing, reimagining, experimental. "We created a jungle; we mimic nature with these things that are counter-nature," said Montoya. Materials included cellophane, used and donated fabrics, rolls of "anti-sequins" (the sparkly fabric left over from sequin production), and even discarded costumes from Broadway's The Lion King.

More pictures and information after the jump.

The Rainbow Warrior III arrived in Manhattan's Chelsea Piers last Friday after an 18-day crossing from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. This is the new boat's "maiden voyage" across the Atlantic, and the third incarnation of the Rainbow Warrior. The original Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French secret service in 1985, killing Fernando Pereira, a 35-year-old Dutch-Portuguese photojournalist. The second Rainbow Warrior was retired in August 2011, and the current boat was christened on October 14, 2011. The boat was paid for by supporters, as Greenpeace doesn't accept corporate or government money. Says Turner, "The Rainbow Warrior really is owned by the people. It's there to serve the people's interest, not the corporate interest."

The Rainbow Warrior III leaves New York tomorrow, stopping in Baltimore; Southport, North Carolina; and Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg, Florida on its way to Brazil for the Rio Earth Summit in June. The ship is traveling to promote Greenpeace's coal campaign, calling coal a "Victorian technology" to be left in the Victorian age.

The installations were designed to accompany a "pop-up restaurant" event on the boat last Monday, which served a seven-course meal prepared by Daniel Patterson, renowned chef at San Francisco's Coi, using sustainable seafood, organic produce and local sourcing. Guests included longtime Greenpeace activists, food journalists, renowned chefs including Mario Batali, and science writers.

"We're excited to partner with an organization like Greenpeace, world-renowned but not known for our issues," says Stephen Kent Jusick, executive director of MIX NYC. "And on a boat - how cool is that."

Click on the pictures for full-size splendor.

The Installation on the Helipad


The Installation in the Mess


More Information on the Rainbow Warrior III

All photos by Nicholas Bullock

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