The practice of the artist is hard to define, hard to consider, especially when dealing with a vast research that encompasses and compares people’s attitudes, the state of ecology and nature in both the Mississippi and Danube delta’s.
As I travel around Louisiana in mad dashes of activities, searching out scientists, alligator trappers, hermits, ecologists, artists and rocketship builders, a question keeps crouching in the back of my mind: Who am I?
What am I doing here?
“Death is the sanction of everything that the storyteller can tell,” Walter Benjamin writes in his essay about Leskov; ‘The Storyteller‘. But am I really just a storyteller? We could just as well say I’m the collector of Benjamin’s other famous essay ‘Unpacking My Library – A Talk about Book Collecting‘. I think about the notes I took, recordings and pictures I made and experiences I stored in the memory.
In my travels, I took on many guises. Bike rider, joke teller, manic dancer, lover, friend, cook, communicator, question asker, daughter. But when I think about the times when I was most productive, happiest, I was like a fisherman.
My fascination for the Mississippi river started years ago, I think it’s rooted in the stories of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and in my genes. My grandfather was a truck driver and he always preferred being on the road than at home following daily routines; a bit like a fisherman as well perhaps.
I would record the river, its flowing, its washing away of land, its pollution, and something else that I can’t describe and that might be poetry. I threw out my Hydrophone and GoPro in the waters of the Mississippi, of the Gulf of Mexico, in DA BAYOU, and I listened carefully to see what would get caught in my net. The recordings I collect document a moment in time, a minute, an instant, a specific state that will never be recreated again.