If all goes well this week, a huge, scrappy flotilla of homemade rafts—crafted out of junk scavenged from the streets of New York City, powered by biodiesel fuel and fry grease, and packed with artists, performers, and assorted crazy people—will be set free in Minnesota from the banks of the Mississippi. Grandly titled the Miss Rockaway Armada, the project was initially conceived by New York street artist Swoon and fleshed out by a dedicated volunteer team of about 25 people, many of them veterans of art collectives with names like Visual Resistance, the Floating Neutrinos, the Infernal Noise Brigade, and the Madagascar Institute. Several of these raft-builders hail from New York, but they are heading for distant shores, knowing full well that their project wouldn't last long on the Hudson or the East River. Plus, as Swoon notes, "there's something so American about this myth of the Mississippi—it's totally in our imaginations. There's not very much explaining to do. You just say the words... More >>>