Built on a small Casco Bay island in the nineteenth century not far from Portland’s wharves, Fort Gorges was designed to protect the city in wartime. But it was never used in battle. By the time it was completed, in 1869, modern explosives had made the structure obsolete. The island is now a public park.
Inspired by the site and its history, Bowdoin Visiting Artist Erin Colleen Johnson is curating a three-day event, called A Long Wait, at Fort Gorges on July 9, July 15, and July 23. The $10 or $15 tickets include a round-trip ferry ride from Portland’s Chandlers Wharf to the island.
“A Long Wait…uses Fort Gorges…as context, material, and site for performance, sound, video, and social practice artworks,” a press release explains. “Responding to the fort as icon and conceptual inspiration, this project aims to finally give purpose to this site, whose arresting physical presence belies the banality of its true history.”
On July 9, Artist Anna Wolfe-Pauly will lead participants through a one-day training on how to survive future weather events. On July 15, knightworks, a dance theater company that tells stories of the African Diaspora, will use movement, music, and verse to explore the impulse to make art in the face of catastrophe. The final event, on July 23, directed by musician Ken Ueno, will be a sound piece that includes trumpets, trombones, throat singing, and the Fort itself.