The Wall and Drips #1, 2013
THE DRIPS OF CARAMELIZED RAW SUGAR MATERIAL ON RUSTED WALL OF RAW SUGAR WAREHOUSE,
DOMINO SUGAR FACTORY
DOMINO SUGAR FACTORY AND
RAW SUGAR WAREHOUSE
The Domino Sugar Factory was one of the most iconic industrial landmark along the East River in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Built in 1856 by the Havemeyer Family, it was the first dozens of sugar refineries that contributed to the area’s emergence in the 19th century as the industrial center of the Port of New York. It used to be the largest sugar refinery in the world and produced more than half of US sugar supply.
The raw sugar was carried by ships through Ease River and brought up by 2 giant cranes into “Raw Sugar Warehouse” that was located northern part of factory complex, along Kent Ave between Grand street and South 2nd street, before conveyed to refinery buildings. After the factory closed in 2004, it was abandoned and decayed util Raw Sugar Warehouse was used for site specific art installation by the Kara Walker and Creative time in the summer of 2014, first time this big warehouse was opened to public for 3 month, and demolished to be transformed to new condominiums designed by Shop architects.
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When I moved to Williamsburg in 2001, the historic Domino Sugar Factory was still operating as an active refinery, smelling sweet from blocks away. It remains an iconic part of Brooklyn history and was one of the most significant industrial landmarks.
I was shooting the sugar refinery from 2013 to 2015, including the cityscape of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At night when I was crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, it looked to me as if a giant dinosaur laying by the river. When the factory closed in 2004, it was just abandoned and decayed with rust, a once prosperous dinosaur became a fossil. In my time living in Brooklyn, I became interested in the dramatic change of Williamsburg as both and artist and a neighbor. I published two books documenting this evolution and culture, “Riverside Story” in 2001 and “Riverside Story 2” in 2011. These books are my photographic dailies, and as a result of shooting Williamsburg these 10 years apart, they contrasted the significant change of this area.
“Domino Sugar Factory” is my third project linked to my beloved Williamsburg neighborhood. I documented the entire sugar factory complex before the demolition, with access given by Two Trees, and currently planning to shoot after the new condominiums are completed through the years, to highlight the on-going evolution with an architectural approach.
The artist would like to thank Two Trees and to Laura Cheng for helping realize this commission and to preserve this part of Brooklyn history.
To be continued and edited....