Here’s the latest with Trade Route Stories: I invited a group of 8 Oberlin college student-artists to collaborate over their month-long January term. We dove into my hard-drives of audio interviews, photos, video footage and writing. Each student transcribed one sailor’s interview… shared the transcripts with the group… and created all sorts of art-pieces to share and honor the sailors’ stories. The month culminated in an exhibit and performance featuring monologues, performance pieces, an interactive poem installation, songs, bound books, videos and sound pieces.
Incredible! I’m excited to take this model and implement it with other groups. More photos from the exhibit and the process here:
I finished the circle— back to the beginning. You can read/see/hear about my year on “A Year At Sea” post archive on Transom.org. Check it out here: http://transom.org/?cat=63
Now I’m making the transition to production mode. I’m now on the hunt for collaborators, outlets, and funding. I want to create a team: a couple more producers, an editor, and a web guy/gal. Then, I’m going to need to round up funds to pay us well for our time. The first item in the line-up is a series of audio portraits of some of the men and women I sailed with. That will form the building blocks for other audio and multimedia work.
Get in touch with me if you want to collaborate and/or if you have ideas for where to look for resources (i/e, space, support, $$, etc!)
And stay tuned for more stories in the coming months.
Nothing is for certain, except the day you left and sausages for Thursday breakfast (the kind you hate). We don’t count down the days til home, only can count up how long we’ve been here, been gone. Days stack slowly, but time is always running. Look over your shoulder, the pile is already a mountain. 146 days and counting….
"We don’t have time for media these days. You’re 20 years too late. All across the industry, they’ve cut staff to the bone. People on board ships don’t have time to do anything other than their job."
The agent at FreighterWorld didn’t sound too optimistic about the feasibility of my project. She certainly didn’t have time to help me contact shipping agents. And all this after being put on hold for three and a half minutes.
Writer Dick Pollack traveled from Hong Kong back to his home in NYC via container ship in 2001 and wrote about it. I emailed him for advice about getting on board a ship, and his outlook was somber.
"Security has been increasingly tightened since 9/11, subjecting passenger travel on box boats etc. to more and more bureaucratic hurdles, usually resulting in a thumbs down. Even if you do manage to ship out, your access to information in port would be minimal at best, because container ships only tie up for a few hours before moving on but also because of strict security. Anyone pointing a video camera would be particularly suspect, I fear."
This is what I’m up against. I’ll find a way… just gotta keep trying a different approach to get my foot in the door.
Hey Allison! Saw the article about you in the Oberlin alumni email newsletter. Wow! What an amazing project and year you have had! I am so excited about what you are doing and I think a huge congratulations are in order! We had a few semesters of Chinese together, not sure if you remember me- Theora Kvitka aka Xie Ruofei. I will be looking forward to following you as you interpret all of your collected materials.
Theora! I just found this message— I don’t usually check my tumblr inbox. Of course I remember you. It’s great to hear from you, and thanks for the shout out. My email address is allison.swaim at gmail, feel free to communicate that way. I made it to China by ship, I’d been waiting to go feels like my whole life. Amazing place! I can’t wait to go back there, my dream is to work as a journalist there some day… Hope all is well in your life, wherever in the world you are!