Script for an Unfinished Video About the Charles River

Paper canoes, durational performance/voyage down the Charles River from its headwaters at Echo Lake to Boston Harbor, video (r/t: 7m), broadsheets, paper boatbuilding workshop. With Mare Liberum. Boston Center for the Arts Mills Gallery. (2013)

“My idea was to immerse myself in this maelstrom of images to establish its Geography.” ~ Chris Marker, Immemory


In 1639 a brook was built to divert water from the Charles to power mills on what was then called the East Brook.

The brook is a quiet, forgotten backwater (in some cases, even hidden – it runs in a culvert under the parking lot for the Pizzeria Uno in Dedham).

Echoes of the mills remain (Saw Mill Lane and Stone Mill Drive, which cross the brook). Centennial Dam now sits beside an apartment complex built out of a former mill on Stone Mill Drive.

The trees all clump together into some sort of treeness. The water… is it shallow? Is it water? Is it dried out? Give me a second and I’ll look up the weather. When are these images from? This is a memory of theriver. Made for passing by. Odd that the whole of it was made in a single take. When was that moment, when all was memorized? Is this the now-river or something else — older-river? It is hard to navigate from here. You can’t navigate a moment anyway. I’m trying to find my way through the cloud into the wilderness. Where is the dark matter we know exists? Are there any missing masses if you stop stopping to explain? Where is the way through the quote-unquote known to the still quote-unquote unknowable?

Can we click off the known layer and find ourselves only in the real thing?  Even a simulation of the real thing would be better than this.  We are training our eyes not to see beyond that which we know, that which has been written.  As if there was nothing else but that which had been written.

  • ...

Exhibition Timeline

Boston Center for the Arts, “About, With & For,” curated by Juliana Driever.