Rob Gorski Bought Rabbit Island, Hopes to Turn It Into Mini-Manhattan Artist Utopia


On jury duty one day last year, New Yorker Rob Gorski, who lives on the Lower East Side, found an island for sale on Craigslist. The 91 acres in Lake Superior three miles north of Michigan are called Rabbit Island and Gorski purchased the land with a plan, which has since blossomed. Today, Gothamist points us toward the Rabbit Island blog, where Gorski examines the “highest potential of Rabbit Island” through the prism of Manhattan, and specifically the book Delirious New York by Rem Koolhass, which shows “that Manhattan offers remarkable — if obvious — guiding principle related to human interaction with frontier and that the settlement of the forests of Manhattan is a benchmark act of civilization.” From there, the ideas are excellently ambitious.

A Kickstarter page for the Rabbit Island Artist Residency describes Gorski’s vision to build “a solid (but modest) cabin for future residents to stay in and a studio for artists to work in … from the island’s own stone and wood.” Donations would make such development possible — maybe he spent all of his money on the island? — and there are 21 days left to chip in.

There’s already a “home-base” that Groski built on the island, and the first artist-in-residence, Andrew Ranville, will be responsible for continuing to expand on the infrastructure should they secure the funds.

The “ethos” of the neo-Manhattan dream are described like this:

Ecological concerns are a growing influence within the consciousness of society and the creative practices of many people. Visual artists, writers, designers, architects, farmers and creative researches of all types are doing some amazing things and we want develop an amazing space for those practices to flourish and be challenged. This artist residency presents some really unique constraints: It is off-the-grid, it is nature in its purist form, it’s an experiment, a laboratory. It is isolated from all centralized forms of transportation, energy production, food industry, and, the world of art.  Rabbit Island represents a chance to creatively explore ideas related to the absence of civilization in a well-preserved microcosm.

The next Bon Iver could be in our midst, but we’ll never know unless Gorksi gets help with solar power, transportation and tools.

He writes:

…if New York City were rediscovered today by individuals benefiting from hindsight and contemporary knowledge of environmental science, biology, historical sequence and externality, would the ensuing project unfold differently? America itself? What would a do-over look like? It is wonderful to think about.

Here’s a video of the pitch:

If your idealism is bubbling up from inside, go to Kickstarter to contribute.

[via Gothamist]