Vessels: 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival
Music by Mark K. Johnson
VESSELS was inspired by Dante’s early-14th century epic poem, Divine Comedy, which predicted that directly opposite Jerusalem in the great oceans of the southern hemisphere lies an island, above which shines a constellation of four stars in the shape of a cross. Atop this island sits the original Garden of Paradise. The mythological location of this island is where New Zealand now lies. According to Dante, an angel in the form of a divine white bird eternally pilots vessels of souls from the underworld to the island shores. Ripples of light emanate from the vessels, so radiant that the eye can barely endure them. (Purgatorio, Canto 2 of 33)
Original music by American composer Mark K. Johnson established the sounds of a ghost vessel silently approaching the shore, and then eternally receding once again. The music contained the whispers of the tide; the sounds of the sea repeating in endless cycles; the haunting echoes of a ship’s bell in the distance, warning of obstacles. The movements of visitors and the overtones of the music created vibrations within the vessels and resulted in changing patterns of water ripples above.
Museum of Wellington City & Sea
26 February – 21 March 2010