BEHINDSTORY

325 KENT MURAL

The Wall and Drips #1, 2013

THR DRIPS OF CARAMELIZED RAW SUGAR MATERIAL ON RUSTED WALL OF RAW SUGAR WAREHOUSE,

IN DOMINO SUGAR FACTORY

©2013 GION

STROY

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 East 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 util Raw Sugar Warehouse hosted the 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. After the show, it was demolished to be transformed to new condominiums designed by Shop architects. Symbolic giant cranes and center pillars of Raw Sugar Warehouse were preserved and installed in water front park at former factory site that will open in summer 2018.

 

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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.

To be continued and edited....

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