The street-artist Swoon (who’s shown at MOMA and Deitch) is leading a band of activists and artists from across the US in a Tom Sawyer-meets-Marcel Duchamp expedition down the Mississippi starting tomorrow. Called The Miss Rockaway Armada, the project consists of three pontoon rafts constructed from found materials and powered without the help of fossil fuels. While the operation is pretty polished–they’ve got a blog, hosted a fundraiser art sale that featured works by Shepard Fairey, Banksy, ESPO and others, and have gotten media requests from the New York Times and the Star Tribune–the on-the-ground reality is freeform and fun. Inspired by the 16th to 19th-century “pirate utopias” of the Barbary Coast, Hakim Bey’s notion of “temporary autonomous zones,” the cross-Atlantic flight of The Floating Neutrinos‘ scrap-raft, and a heavy dose of radical politics, the 30-person crew will begin its trip down the river tomorrow, starting here in Minneapolis and stopping along the way to St. Louis to host dance parties (the art collective Barnstormers built them a custom-painted sound system), offer rides on their pedal-powered ferris wheel, and spread the gospel of alternative fuels–among other activities.
Above: the model for the three-part Miss Rockaway raft.