Michi Zeebee, the name of our craft, was built at The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, ME. She will journey down the Mississippi River July 7th and will return to Maine in the fall to gather and share stories around living and working on the water.
Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Magazine recently published an article on the project here. Also, The Forecaster covered us before leaving Maine here.
How do people along one of the world’s longest and most famous rivers actually relate to that river on a personal and daily level? What structures—dikes, levees, houses, locks, boats, barges—mediate that relationship? How has that relationship changed as the habitat of the river has changed? These are questions that we seek to explore and highlight on the ground level by taking a trip down the river in a traditional boat that we built from scratch last summer. The boat is a cross between a show boat—with colonial-era details and a working water wheel—and a “shanty” boat, a make-do water-top home found in eddies and crooks all along the river.
As our understanding of the river and its people shifts over the course of the journey, our watercraft will also shift. We will respond to the history of the river, the places where we portage, and the data we gather, adding and changing pieces of the boat, creating detailing, gathering artifacts (including clay from certain areas of the river banks for making pottery, and shells from along the shores), sewing flags, painting and carving into the wood, so that by the time the boat arrives at New Orleans September 8th, it will be transformed into a multimedia, multifaceted portrait of the river that draws together diverse communities. These stories will then be shared with Maine communities when we bring Michi Zeebee back.
SUSTAINABILITY + COMMUNITY
There are two core ideas at the heart of this project: first, it’s about connecting communities—the coasts, where each of us grew up, the northeast, where we’ve built the boat, the heartland, and the south. These disparate socio-geographic communities will become connected through our journey. Second, the project is about sustainability. The history of the Mississippi is a history of attempts to control the environment of the river, forcing a naturally fluctuating, muddy habitat into a controlled and constrained one, where water and land are divided. Though these efforts initially seemed to expand the area around the river suitable for settlement, in the long run they are exacerbating flooding in the Mississippi River Delta. The river boat is a simple example of responsive, adaptable architecture: it moves and lives with the river. Michi Zeebee will also be utilizing solar power for the trip to highlight how easy it can be to incorporate renewable energy into daily life.
We are all set to embark on this journey down the Mississippi River and back to Maine except for travel and towing expenses. We need dollars to get down river. Right now we are all throwing in personal funds, but are running low so any donation would be a huge help towards getting gas, food, supplies, and pulling it out of the water for the show in New Orleans. We are a part of the Solon Center for Research & Publishing, a 501c3 nonprofit, making donations tax deductible. We just need a little extra help to get over the finish line from those who believe in the power of art and storytelling to connect communities and foster conversation around sustainability.
CARRIER PIGEON is a project-based art and design studio. We specialize in physical, geographical explorations of contemporary issues that revolve around making and journeying. We believe in slow design, public art, deep-dive journalism, and the combination of personal narrative with academic research to highlight pressing contemporary issues. We believe that these issues need to be examined through many lenses (art, science, writing, travel) in order to be more fully understood. We exist under the umbrella of the Solon Center for Research & Publishing, a 501c3 nonprofit that fosters literary and artistic communities in Maine and beyond through publications, research, onsite projects and workshops.
EMILY DU HOUX is an artist, writer, and professor at the Rhode Island School for Design (RISD) in the Furniture Design, Jewelry + Metalsmithing, and Textiles departments.
MORGAN ROGERS is an artist and writer living in Portland, Maine. She has worked as a consultant and as a communications strategist helping organizations tell their story and engage communities with their mission.
Special thanks to our partners The Apprenticeshop , ReVision Energy , National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium , Dubuque Museum of Art , Treo , and The UrbanArt Commission .
Learn more at carrierpigeonstudio.com
- Karin Martin
- Lenin The buoys guy
- Jessica & Makis Koen
- David Noah
- JOELLE BERGER
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