the sea in darkness calls

Posted on: June 2, 2022
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the sea in darkness calls is a performance piece for four dancers and a 4-channel sound installation in the U.S. Custom House in Portland, ME, yet to be realized due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19. The sound piece above has been adapted for 2-channel playback. The fragments of song come from the Shaker dance tune "Simple Gifts," written in 1848 by Joseph Brackett, Jr., and "Song to the Seals," written in 1930 by Granville Bantock and Harold Boulton. The U.S. Custom House in Portland, ME was built in the late 1800's on fill land which pushed the shore line out in order to extend the railroad. In this monument to humans assigning monetary value to raw materials and goods and claiming dominion, I intended to invoke seamaids singing out for simplicity, freedom, and awe, to seek a rebalance; to allude to sea level rise and the Earth reclaiming its domain. The title of the performance is taken from the poem "The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Other Projects by Rachel Anne York

Rachel Anne York

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MFA Alumni

Major: Printmaking

Graduation Year: 2020

Artist Statement:

My work and practice center around perspective, awareness, place, community, and the climate crisis. I believe that humans are unable to adapt and react to these changing circumstances because we are stuck in unacknowledged grief and anxiety over the massive losses we are experiencing. Seeking to activate multiple levels of awareness, I use story, sound, music, architecture, archives, performance, and drawing to facilitate immersive, ephemeral, shared experiences. I am investigating human concepts of the non-human world, specifically through modes of storytelling and communal acts, and how the decline of such acts impact our concepts of nature. I believe the transference of oral tradition deriving from generations of collective memory is both disrupted and enabled by technological advances, and that there are both opportunity and loss in that tension.