Songs of Safe Passage: Many Thousand Miles Behind Us Many Thousand Miles Before

June 15, 2016 — Aug. 25, 2016

This summer at Maine Maritime Museum, Erin Colleen Johnson presents Songs of Safe Passage: Many Thousand Miles Behind Us Many Thousand Miles Before, a multichannel sound installation. Historic Maine sea shanties and traditional Arabic folk songs from countries impacted by the current refugee crisis are woven together, encouraging listeners to question their relationship to migration, safety, and the ocean.

Four speakers are installed along the Kennebec River, 10 miles from where it empties into the ocean. The voices sing toward and away from the shore—simultaneously arriving and embarking, calling and responding, harmonizing and discording. Wave height data is culled from sensors in the river and put into a pseudorandom number generator that determines which speaker plays which track and when, creating a never-ending, yet never-identical composition. It unfolds with unpredictable potential, one that escapes Johnson's control as it becomes subject to the movement of water.


Phone: (207) 443-1316
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Maine Maritime Museum

243 Washington Street
Bath, Maine 04530