Carrie Mae Smith

The waste stream at RAIR inspired Carrie Mae Smith to think about the experience of being stranded on an island, dependent on one’s ingenuity and resourcefulness for survival. During her residency , she created a body of work titled Robinsonaden, which included the construction of a 17’ flat bottom boat that she rowed down the Delaware River. Except for some adhesive, the aptly titled “Want Knot” was built entirely from material recovered through RAIR. In addition to the boat, complete with two sets of oars, Smith created a set of nautical flags spelling “SURVIVAL”, a “Life Ring”, and a celestial nautical map made from scavenged MRI film. Immediately following her residency at RAIR, Smith  exhibited Robinsonaden at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym in June 2014.

“The construction of the vessel was refined, and it was not completely obvious that it was made from recycled/reclaimed materials,” Smith noted regarding the “Want Knot.” When launched on the Delaware River, Smith discussed the boat’s construction with some young boys on the public dock. After close inspection of her craft, they exclaimed they wanted to make a boat out of trash too, which was exactly the kind of resourcefulness Smith hoped to inspire..