Caroline Gagné spent the fall and winter of 2010–2011 at Avatar, working on a large-scale sound and visual commission from Avatar entitled Cargo.
She had spent October 1 to 9 on a gigantic seagoing warehouse—a merchant marine freighter—crossing the Atlantic. There, between her departure from Charleston and her arrival at Antwerp, she collected the sound and light to use for her work onsite.
Gagné’s aim was to communicate the experience of the freighter in motion. What interested her were the colour of time and textures of the vessel’s sounds, at sea or in port during transshipments. Entering the installation, audience members found themselves at the heart of a layered, stratified sound environment that brought home the freighter’s astonishing scale and essence. Other sonorities from the vessel’s hidden recesses could also be discerned at various locations in the installation—delicate creakings and groans. The installation included video footage shot onboard at night, seemingly abstract images of clustered lights moving like constellations in which the shapes of other vessels could perhaps be made out nearby or in the distance. (After Caroline Gagné.)