The two primary features of the project invite participants to re-imagine how we “navigate” and interact with the river by audibly tracing the songlines through the Festival and by visually tracing the river’s landmarks via SMS photos. As Clevelanders contributed their stories via web, skype or post, their narratives became folded into the ongoing aural archive, which was continually accessible throughout the duration of the project. Participants became attuned to the river, not simply as a geographical feature, but rather as a dynamic zone where ecosystems, and industry, pleasure and labor become intertwined with the unfolding history of the Cuyahoga.
Crooked River expanded the geographical and cultural reach of the Ingenuity Festival to include a broader bandwidth, fostering discussion and engagement with Cleveland’s complex history and morphology. Members of spurse staffed a booth during the duration of the Ingenuity Festival, training participants on the use of the various listening recording apparatuses.
“Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River is a complex template of history, infrastructure, culture and flowing water which courses through the city on its crooked axis. The river holds many stories –industrial fires, marine life losses, engineers’ ambitions, immigrant dreams, childhood excursions upstream. The river’s cultural narratives, however, are overshadowed by limited access to its banks and by a serpentine coordinate system that disorients and deters engagement. Our proposal re-activates these narratives as a series of“songlines” that re-insert the cultural dimensions of the river into the physical template of the city.” – Iain Kerr and Petia Morozov, Project Coordinators