HARBOR VOICES
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Connecting Past to Present through Public Art 

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Connectivity is at the heart of our public art projects.  

Harbor Voices collects immigration stories, both ancestral and recent, and connects stories of the past to stories of the present in community collaborative public art installations.

Reflecting on our personal histories and local history, we are reminded of the struggles our ancestors once faced. These struggles, though perhaps centuries old, may look similar to the hurdles described in stories of recent immigration.

We strengthen community bonds by finding parallels in our common story. These parallels become visualized in immersive public art experiences.

“My paternal great grandparents immigrated to Gloucester from the Azores. What a lovely tribute
to the past, present, and future people who make Gloucester home.”

—MP MULLIN, Harbor Voices Installation Visitor, December 2017


 

Connecting to Community Organizations

Local organizations are invited to engage in the creative art of immigration storytelling using our exclusive model, helping the artist generate a comprehensive view of each harbors' ancestral and recent immigrant communities. The artist first works with organizations to better understand a diverse community before launching the storytelling sessions.

Connecting through Storytelling

All are welcome to share their stories, opening a dialogue about their recent arrival to our harbors or their ancestors’ arrivals. Stories are shared orally in any language, and young storytellers are often provided the opportunity to share their stories through artistic expression in various mediums.

Storytelling sessions are held at senior centers, the offices of public officials, public schools, nonprofit support groups, and historical societies, among others.

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Mapping Our Interconnectedness

The Artist will create a Map of Connections, visually revealing the interconnectedness between community members, past and present. The Map is the visualized into a temporary light and sound experience, open to all as a free in a public art event.

Recent Exhibitions

One Hundred Voices, One Collective Story (2018)

New York, NY

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Visitors listen to our 2017 Cape Ann sound collage "One Hundred Voices, Our Collective Story" while submitting their own NY Harbor immigration stories to our database for a future dated installation.

Featured as part of Wang Xin’s “The Gallery,” de Sarthe Gallery

The Armory Show, Pier 94

New York City

March 8th, 2018

 

One Hundred Voices, One Collective Story (2017)

Gloucester, MA

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In the fall of 2017, Harbor Voices created its first community collaborative public art installation in the fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts. This community has centuries of rich immigration history from across the globe.

We held storytelling sessions at senior centers, the offices of public officials, public schools, nonprofit support groups, and historical societies to collect over 100 ancestral and recent local immigration stories.

The audio from the storytelling sessions was recorded and the stories were then condensed into an 8-minute sound collage, featuring a “babble” of languages overlapping into the sound of crashing waves. Short quotations from our diverse collection of stories emerged from the waves as the laser installation commenced. The sound installation immersed exhibition visitors in immigration stories, while the lasers visualized the web of connectivity between stories. In the exhibition, an ancestral immigration story would be heard in conjunction with a recent story and, eventually, the visitor could no longer discern which stories were recent and which stories were from the past. Lights from opposite corners of the room would connect and travel through space and time together, exemplifying the similitudes that exist amongst neighbors and community members.

"When my ELL students, who just arrived to this country, see their stories
shared in the context of other stories about immigration and local history,
I think they feel part of a larger community and more welcome here."

—A GLOUCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER, December 2017

 

 

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