DOCUMENTATION

PEDDOCKS & SPECTACLE ISLAND

The Harboring Project sought to re-introduce sacred practice on the Boston Harbor Islands as an outlet for the creative expression of eco-grief. We designed and implemented a sensory-oriented investigation of the islands’ diverse narratives, fostering individual artistic practices in articulation of engagement with the land. Centering on the concept of eco-grief, we connected inspired intuition with rigorous arts-practice to engage in the work of healing.  This project was support by the Boston Foundation, the National Parks of Boston, and Boston Harbor Now.

Harboring Project held on Open Expedition at Spectacle Island: on Sunday, August 18th on Spectacle Island, in which we led a self-guided walk with guideposts along the way to explore…Visitors encountered Spectacle island through art-making, memories, and reflection including the opening of social-engagement structures built in collaboration with Ruinkraft. These structures, built and composed of biomaterials, will stand through Summer 2020, serving as gates to the Imaginal World of Archipelago - our cultural understanding of these Harbor Islands. 

Artifacts and Creative Outputs:

 Little White Chapel Sitting On a Hill,

 

I feel honored to have been invited, something that I was afraid would not happen for me on this trip. At first, you were only a background for the trees I wished to capture. Filling my time, I found myself walking in your direction, and eventually landing at your steps. I didn’t realize it then, but the expedition was in full swing, and you were the beginning and the end. 

 

I found you very cute, sitting all by your lonesome. I was sure you would be locked, but my curiosity for what was inside led me to pull on your handle anyway. To my surprise, you opened for me. Inside it was empty and quiet, I wasn’t sure why I was alone. Walking very softly, so as to not make a sound, I slowly approached the front of the aisle, which didn’t take long because of your size. I froze before I dared to walk further, crossing the boundary of the rails. My body became heavy, and I fell to my knees. I had not intended to pray and I did not, but instead closed my eyes and sat in your hospitality. “Thank you for having me.” Never have I felt a space so holy, so sacred, that I felt unworthy to exist within it. Even so, you welcomed me. I darted out your doors to retrieve my things, for I had a plan and it was simple: to spend some time with you. 

 

As I walked back in, still alone to my surprise, 54 perfectly parked white chairs sat, and yes, I counted each one. And yes, I sat in each one. 10 grand windows, each with their own box of light that resided quietly on the floor. I chose the one that seemed to fit, and sat with all my limbs in the warmth of such glow. “I like it here.” And so I wrote what I felt, and what I felt was that I belonged. I wanted to stay longer, because I knew there was something here that needed remembering. There was more outside of your walls to discover, so I left you once again, intending to return.

 

I thought of you often as the distance between us grew. Little things reminded me of you, like the broken fence and edible flowers. As I got closer I felt comfortable, and I was excited to share all that had surfaced from the day. I said a quick goodbye to my friends and as I walked to your back door, I thought about which box of light I would sit in this time...Might I move a chair? Would I dance with your railing? Would I draw a picture of the door staring back at me? No, I would not, because your doors were locked shut and I was no longer invited. 

 

I hurried back to the Welcome Center to ask if I could see you again, and to my surprise, I never should have met you at all. “How did you get in there?” she asked me. The question knocked at my chamber, awakening a magic that was born only an hour before. I couldn’t help but smile, feeling as though we shared a secret, you and I. I felt our experience hardening, becoming solidified through this revelation, that your doors are locked at all times. It was in this moment that I realized you never sat on a hill. How did it land so comfortably in my memory of us? I can’t help but fantasize about all the things I remember with you. Is this faith?

 

That day it was true I was not made to return. Yet even so, you found me. So here I am, with you as a friend, and I have found a sacred space inside myself. Whether you live on a hill, or were built to be empty, I am making memories with you. 


 

Yours,

Jessica

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