LE MILIEU DU MONDE (The Middle of the World)

LE MILIEU DU MONDE (The Middle of the World)

Located on the bridge deck of each of the three new Staten Island ferries The Middle of the World is a multimedia installation that provides passsengers with a different experience with every crossing. Steered by the ferrys GPS navigation system the installation uses sound, video, light and mechanics to explore nautical and geographical themes in a time-based and site specific manner. The video component of the work is a viewing portal of highly polished stainless steel housing a sonargraphically generated view of the undersea floor between Staten Island and Manhattan.

Sonar Zone
(GPS Steered Scanning of the Ocean Floor between Staten Island and Manhattan)

Stainless Steel, Video, Glass, Electronics. Lamda Prints
Permantent Installation –
bridge deck of the three new Staten Island Ferries
Percent for Art Progarm, Department of Culture,
New York City.

Located on the aft rotunda, the Sonar Portal utilizes the site specificity of a live GPS link to steer a virtual map of the undersea floor directly beneath the ferry. With imagery compiled specifically for this artwork utilizing Side Scanning Sonar technology, the Sonar Portal gives passengers a real time glimpse of the undersea floor between Staten Island and Manhattan.

World Zone (detail)

Stainless Steel, Glass, Cold Cathode, Electronics
(GPS Steered Lighting array)
Permantent Installation- bridge deck of the three new Staten Island Ferries
Percent for Art Progarm, Department of Culture, New York City.

The liquid motion of the Compass Portal echoes that of the ferry’s movement over the water via by a delicate system of counterweights.
It’s central feature, a ball of stainless steel engraved with the constellations appearing over the harbor, seems to float upon a set of ever shifting glass plates engraved with names from man’s great ages
of exploration. Located above this world portal a blue light floods the space, fading and intensifying through a series of permutations set by
the relative coordinates of the ferry’s GPS system. The light begins
faintly upon leaving shore, reaching maximum intensity at the midpoint
of the passage, then fades again as the ferry reaches the opposite shore.

Water and Light Imagery (detail)

Permantent Installation –
bridge deck of the three new
Staten Island Ferries
Percent for Art Progarm,
Department of Culture,
New York City.

A photographic mural composed of over 800 video stills of water and light imagery captured with a special camera and arranged mathematically to reveal a complex geometric pattern within the delicate phenomenon of reflection and refraction.

101 Tales from the Sea
Permantent Installation

bridge deck of the three new Staten Island Ferries

At the midpoint of every voyage, activated from a cue from the ferry’s GPS array, passengers seated on the bridge deck of the Staten Island Ferry hear one of 101 short, textual recordings, each selected for it’s capacity to tell some fragment of man’s ongoing relationship with the sea. Sources range from antiquity to modernity and are drawn from such diverse areas as nautical lore, history, myth, poetry, literature, philosophy and science. Thematically, the recordings take the role of New York Harbor in history and song as a point of departure, then move outwards to selections that identify humanity’s empathy with the sea as a source of inspiration common to all cultures and times.
The order in which the texts are played is controlled by computer which randomizes the order of presentation in relation to the ferry’s daily passages, ensuring a different listening experience from day to day.

Passages : The Recordings

bells will sound announcing the beginning of each reading

Edna St. Vincent Millay, „Recuerdo“ read by Valerie Primavera
Walt Whitman, from „Crossing Brooklyn Ferry“ read by Alan Bleviss, Tom McArdle, Scott Reeves
Joseph Conrad, from Typhoon, read by Alan Bleviss
Joseph Conrad, from “Mirror of the Sea” read by John Stroud
Washington Irving, from “A History of New York“ read by Alan Bleviss
Washington Irving, from “The Voyage“ read by Jeff Dorfman
Lucille Clifton, “Blessing the Boats“ read by Alicia Howard
Wallace Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West”, read by Alicia Howard
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, „Crossing the Bar“, read by Scott Reeves
Alfred, Lord Tennyson. from “Ulysses”, read by Alan Bleviss
Herman Melville, from Moby Dick, read by Alan Bleviss
Gabrielle Riedle, from Essay on the Savage Life read by Janice Novak
Herman Melville, from Mardi, read by John Stroud
Rudyard Kipling, “The Sea Wife” read by Helen Hale
Gary Snyder, “We Wash Our Bowls In This Water”, read by Joshua Moses
William Carlos Williams, “The Sound of Waves“ read by Michael Bourke
Charles Olsen, “Maximus, To Himself” read by Alan Bleviss
Emily Dickenson, “By the Sea” read by Helen Hale
Ernest K. Gann, from “Song of the Sirens” read by Alan Bleviss
Jules Verne, from 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea, read By Tom McArdle
WS Merwin, “Another River”, read by John Stroud
Migael Scherer, from “On the Hook”, read by Alicia Howard
Nellie Bly, from Around the World in 79 days read by Helen Hale
Claude McKay, “Sukee River”, read by Destin Soul
Olaudah Equiano, the account of his middle Passage, read by Destin Soul
IH Hayes, from The Open Polar Sea, read by Alan Bleviss
Robert Louis Stevenson, from Treasure Island, read by Tom McArdle
from the Navigatio Sancti of St. Brendan read by Michael Bourke
from the journals of Captain Henry Hudson, read by John Stroud
Joshua Slocum, from Sailing Alone Around the World, read by Alan Bleviss and Geoff Dorfman
Abraham Cahan, from The Rise of David Levinsky read by Micheal Bourke
Omar Khayamm. from the Rubaiyat, read by Hannah Kops
The saga of Emily Roebling read by Helen Hale
Christopher Columbus, from a letter to the Crown, read by John Stroud
Robert Lax, “One Island” read by Michael Bourke, Helen Hale, John Stroud, Hannah Kops
from the journals of Captain Anthony Jenkinson, read by Jason Schurte
Howard Pyle, from Howard Pyles Book of Pirates, read by Tom McArdle
Arthur Sturges Hildebrand , from Magellan, read by Alan Bleviss
the story of Sire De Robeval and his Niece Magueritte read by Elizabeth Lord
Sabine van Lessen, The Five Minute Sea, read by Janice Novak
Charles Darwin, from Voyage of the Beagle, read by Michael Bourke
The last words of the notorious woman pirate Mary Reade aka “Red Mary”, read by Helen Hale
Henry David Thoreau, from A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers, read by Alan Bleviss
Friedericke von Koenigswald, Of Africa, read by Hannah Kops
Jack London, from The Sea Wolf, read by Alan Bleviss
Sara Teasdale, „Sea Longing” read by Alicia Howard
from a letter to The Pirate Captain Morgan, from Juan del Campo de Espinosa read by Scott Reeves
The story of Bjarni Herjolffsson, read by Scott Reeves
Andrew Salkey, from Middle Passage Anancy, read by Nicole Awai
HR Thomlinson, from Morning Light, read by Scott Reeves
The Bible, the story of Noah, read by Alan Bleviss
John Stroud “The Very True Story of Ocean Borne Mary” read by Helen Hale
Leonard Cohen, “Suzanne” read by Janice Novak
President John Quincy Adams, from the case of the Amistad read by Scott Reeves
from the account of Captain Bly of the Bounty, read by Scott Reeves
Uwe Johnson, from Anniversaries, read by Janice Novak
Captain Joseph Woodward, from his Journals, read by Larry Robinson
H. Warrington Smyth, from Mast and Sail, read by Alan Bleviss
Giovanni Verrazano, from a letter to the king, read by John Stroud
Plato, from the Phaedo, read by Alan Bleviss
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from “Ryme of the Ancient Mariner”, read by Alan Bleviss
Thor Heyerdahl, from Kon Tiki read by Alan Bleviss
St Augustine, from The City of God, read by Michael Bourke
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement, read by Michael Bourke
from the Journals of the Navigator John Davis, read by Jason Schurte
from the Journals of Captain Martin Frobisher, read by Jason Schurte
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, „The Sea Limits”, read by read by Michael Bourke
Lewis Carroll, A Sea Dirge, read by Helen Hale
from the journals of Sir Hugh Willoughby, read by Jason Schurte
Elizabeth Mansfield, “Sea”, read by Alicia Howard
Andres Schulze-Velazques, from the Discovery read by the Andres Schulze- Velazques
James Fennimore Cooper, from Afloat and Ashore, read by Tom McArdle
Ralph Waldo Emerson. from his Journals, read by Michael Bourke
Aesop, the fable of the Shipbuilders, read by Michael Bourke
from the journals of Alexander von Humboldt, read by Jason Schurte
Ernest Poole, from the Harbor read by John Stroud
The story of the Whaleship Essex, read by Scott Reeves
Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, read by Destin Soul
Aristotle, from the Meteorologica, read by Alan Bleviss
Aristotle, from the Metaphysics, read by Jason Shurte
Richard Henry Dana, from Two Years Before the Mast, read by Jason Shurte and John Stroud
Ovid, from the Metamorphosis, read by Tom McArdle and Elizabeth Lord
Cotton Mathers, from the Magnalia Christi Americana, read by Scott Reeves
Hjamar Rutzbeck, from Mad Sea read by Jason Shurte
Rabelais, from Gargantua and Pantagruel, read by Scott Reeves
The Story of Madoc, read by John Stroud
Christopher Columbus, from his Journals, read by John Stroud
William Wordsworth, “With Ships the Sea Was Sprinkled Far and Nigh”, read by Michael Bourke
Alain de Bougainville, from his Journals, read by Claudia Elisabeth Vollert
C. Collodi, from Pinnochio, read by Michael Bourke
William Cowper, from “The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk” read by Michael Bourke
Emily Dickenson, poem 133, read by Alicia Howard
Thich Nhat Hanh, from Story of a River read by Yat-Hong Chow

All readings compiled, produced, and recorded by John Stroud. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, by Langston Hughes, used with permission of Harold
Ober Associates, “One Island” by Robert Lax used with permission of Grove/Atlantic Publishers, excerpt from Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson used
with permission of Harcourt Trade Publishers, “On the Hook”. by Migael Scherer used with the permission of Migael Scherer, excerpt from Middle Pas-
gage Anancy by Andrew Salkey used with permission of Bogle L‘ouverture Press, London. “The Sound of Waves”, by William Carlos Williams, from
Collected Poems 1939-1962, Volume Il, © 1948 by William Carlos Williams. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp, “Maximus, To
Himself”, by Charles Olsen used with permission of University of California Press, Berkeley. Ca., ‘How To Breathe Underwater by Alicia Howard, used
with permission of Alicia Howard, “We Wash Our Boats In This Water” by Gary Snyder used with permission of Gary Snyder, “Suzanne”, by Leonard
Cohen used with permission of Leonard Cohen, “The Idea of Order al Key West” by Wallace Stevens used with permission of Alfred A. Knopf Publish-
ers, “Another River”, by W.S. Merwin used with permission of Alfred A. Knopf Publishers. “Blessing the Boats” by Lucille Clifton © 1991 by Lucille
Clifton, all rights reserved, used with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd., “The Story of a River”, by Thich Nhat Hanh, used with permission of Parallax
Press, Berkeley. Great care has been taken in seeking permission to use the sources of this recorded work according to copyright law. If any have been
accidentally entitled or overlocked, acknowledgement will gladly be given.