Dead Horse Bay…thoughts from the future…

two violins (2020)

Dead Horse Bay…thoughts from the future… was originally written for two violins and a live-projection film. The music can be performed with or without the film. Individual movements can be performed as stand-alone movements. The video is an amateur documentary I created showcasing Dead Horse Bay, located in south Brooklyn. I filmed the footage over the course of several visits during the spring and summer of 2019. During the filming process I became fascinated by the island’s history and how the location was once the site of numerous industrial horse carcass-rendering plants as well as New York City’s primary garbage landfill. The island’s inhabitants – many who worked as laborers on the island – were forcefully removed and their homes leveled to the ground. The city transformed the island into a peninsula by the 1950’s by using trash as topsoil. Since then the landfill caps have broken open and remnants of garbage, dating back to the 1800’s, can be found along the beach shore. During my first visit to Dead Horse Bay I was shocked by the sense of abjection. The beach was littered with old domestic trash such as glass bottles, plates, shoes, stoves, and the occasional horse bone. The scene on the beach was terrifying and weirdly mystical. It was beautiful to see how the trash was becoming part of the natural landscape. The inorganic mixed with the organic, both seemingly woven together at times. The various pieces of garbage projected an aura that I imagined as being rendered into music. My mind however became  possessed by one idea, “This garbage is telling me thoughts from the future.”.

For the first performance we created a large and very intentionally homemade, retro-looking, large cell phone made of a shower curtain and square chunk of foam. The phone’s screen displayed the film and acted as a sort of third character to play along with the two violins. Two large projections of the film were displayed on the walls surrounding the performers. Rather than being just about garbage, I also intended Dead Horse Bay…thoughts from the future… to be a reflection on our current world and our relationship to the things around us. One of the aims of Dead Horse Bay…thoughts from the future…is to create a new sense of human solidarity with non human objects.

World Premiere

NYC world premiere (featured in this video):
February 22, 2020
Tenri Cultural Institute
New York City

Aimée Niemann, violin
Charlotte Munn-Wood, violin