Relay of Voices: The Great River Run
A four-month long journey from the Headwaters to the Mouth of the Mississippi River during Summer and Fall of 2019. This expedition will connect the voices of river communities through the work of six artist-athletes traveling the 2,400 miles of the river on foot. As they move down the river each day, they will look closely at how people are moved by the river itself and how proximity to water-based natural resources shapes our way of life. Stories collected by the team will be relayed downriver and shared with subsequent communities through public performances, events, and engagements. Relay is diving deep into rooted America, as the heartbeat of the river flows in every small community, their histories and their present days, their very ways of life. Follow our progress at: relayofvoices.com
In November 2018, Victoria returned home to Louisiana to share the story of Relay of Voices. Introductions were given by Paul Guillory, a Louisiana rice farmer, and Scott Hemmerling, Director of Human Dimensions at the Water Institute of the Gulf.
“Declivity” is the first movement of Relay of Voices: The Great River Run In “Declivity”, the team is listening to the labor of the river, the might of its crosscurrents, and the story of labor told by the water, the land, and the people who work it and live with it. Performed as a 180 minute relay cycle beginning on the back lawn, going around the building, and using the front steps, they walk the bottom of the river, run upstream, get caught in the current, meander, wait, maneuver, levee, breech, and remind us of their paths as they go.
When Fear Hits the Body
A House Unbuilt presented a culminating performance from stories and questions raised on a recent outreach trip to Clarksdale, MS—some say the birthplace of Chicago. Working to build relationships in this and other communities in the Delta, the company has discovered that these connections are the foundation of a specific tie with the city of Chicago and the deep-rooted dynamics of race that persist in both regions, north and south. In the Elevate performance, AHU used the body to dig deeper into the themes that were shared and discovered while in Clarksdale. They then invited the audience to think and move through their own fears and impossibilities felt in the body, as they built relationships through sharing.
In April and May of 2018, Victoria and her mother Dinah made a 30-day drive down the Mississippi River to lay the foundation for the project in the 104 communities along the route. Taking on a schedule of up to 6 meetings a day along with running portions of the Great River Road, the Bradfords were able to successfully build relationships and get a sense of the large task ahead.