Thursday, April 3, 2008

What Sound Does Roosevelt Island Make? A New Participatory Public Art Film Project!

Image from Forgotten NY © 2001 Chet Wilson

Have you ever wondered what is the sound or music emanating from Roosevelt Island. Is it the soothing tones of the East River waterfront at day or night, the majestic trumpets of New York City's day and night skyline, the jazz like multitude of languages from the nearby United Nations, or the piercing cries and anguished wailing from the ghosts still inhabiting the Octagon Lunatic Asylum and Renwick Ruins Smallpox hospital? Most likely, it is some combination of all plus much more.

A film is being made about the Roosevelt Island community and its music called A Necessary Music. The film's creators are seeking the further participation of residents and are holding a meeting at Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA (527 Main Street) this Saturday April, 5 from 11AM - 3PM. A Necessary Music will be exhibited by the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Storefront for Art and Architecture in May and June 2008. The film A Necessary Music is:
The second in a trilogy of works concerning sound and social space, A Necessary Music investigates the modernist, utopian, social housing community of New York's Roosevelt Island. Exploring the social imaginary of a bordered landscape, through the voices that inhabit it, A Necessary Music is a film about Islands and their Music. Referencing the video operas of Robert Ashley and employing the Island's residents as its authors and actors, the film will set up musical parameters around found and encountered everydays situations and events, facts and fictions, re-contexutalizing them by rescripting and re-staging them for film
Here is a message from A Necessary Music's creators:

A Necessary Music


Dear Roosevelt Islanders,

We would like to invite you to come to a casting session for the film ‘A Necessary Music.’
Several weeks ago we posted a letter and questionnaire in the WIRE and online at our website asking you to take part in the creation of a film about island music, or in particular the music of Roosevelt Island. We invited you to be a part of our process and part of our film, to be
its authors and its actors. We started by listening to the island, to you, and asking a series of questions about your lives and the sounds that define them. We’ve received an amazing amount of stories, facts, fictions and thoughts, and have started to organize these in the form of
a script. The script takes its cue from all that you have shared with us, and from other ideas about islands that resonate in their spatial
and cultural imaginary.

We would now like extend the invitation to you once more to help us enact this script, to become the characters that animate its text and populate its story. If you’d like to take part please email the address below in advance and simply show up on Saturday. We will
hold a rehearsal for those cast the following Saturday and will shoot the actual film during the week of the 14th April. For a little more information about the project please see

Beatrice Gibson and Alex Waterman

Saturday 5th April
Gallery RIVAA
11am - 3pm
A Necessary Music will be exhibited by the Whitney Museum of American Art, and
Storefront for Art and Architecture in May and June 2008. A Necessary Music
is funded by The Graham Foundation and Arts Council England.