Spent a night sleeping with an artist!

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An art gallery in DUMBO isn’t the coziest place to spend a week, but it certainly could be worse.

The eco-provocateur/artist Mary Mattingly will be unveiling a prototype of her ambitious “Air Ship Air City” design at the art gallery “Smack Mellon” this week, and six volunteers will actually live in the elevated “flock house” for seven days each.

As Mattingly described it, the wheeled structure, which can hold up to 10 people, will be built on scaffolding and feature hanging gardens, a water collection system and hammocks. The 10-foot high house will even have a convenient escape plan in case of a global warming-induced natural disaster.

“In case of rising water and resulting flooding, a kayak landing with 55-pound barrels underneath — doubling as buoys and compost bins — will be affixed to the scaffolding,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly plans to keep the space open to the public during the “Condensati­ons of the Social” exhibit so that gallery-goers can get a feel for what she sees as the inevitable future: one in which water levels have risen to a point that humans must live in mobile “bird’s nests.”

“ ‘Flock house’ is an airborne habitat that imagines, projects, and adds another level onto the city’s skyline,” Mattingly explained. “[It envisions] a future dependent on mobile cities, while the elevated habitat will be able to cope with rising sea levels.”

If the exhibition sounds ambitious, that’s nothing compared to Mattingly’s original design, which proposed a self-sustaining elevated house on the roof of a building on Flatbush Avenue, complete with chickens, a laboratory and “human nest outdoor couches.”

Previously, Mattingly had lived in her Waterpod — a floating barge straight out of Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld” that also featured — you guessed it — chickens.

“Condensati­ons of the Social” at Smack Mellon [92 Plymouth St. at Washington Street in DUMBO, (718) 834-8761] will run June 19 through Aug. 1. For info, visit

Updated 2:20 pm, October 19, 2011
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