Ongoing works about Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel
Upon a visit to the ICA Boston, one will notice many new structures swiftly erected along the harbor forming today's rebranded "Seaport" and "Innovation" Districts. Tucked between these imposing towers used to sit a humble brick building that easily went unnoticed. Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel, still comparatively adolescent in the scope of Boston churches, was built in the 1950s as a spiritual oasis for seafaring migrants. For decades, this chapel rested roughly 50 yards from the shore upon sprawls of cracked asphalt, but it stood face to face with the water. One could imagine that the seashells sprinkled beneath the feet of a white Madonna having washed up on the steps or been released with the skin of the peeling statue. For decades, she has stood with outstretched arms to protect the land and seas.
Over the last 6 years, I spent a lot of time in the Chapel, typically alone, meditating or documenting. In 2012, I first heard of the plans to remove the Our Lady from the seaport and hosted a protection prayer circle- part of a performance series that I curated called Glossolalia. One of the priests, who offered me the bricks once the building was dismantled, kept me abreast of the changing plans to rebuild it. This past winter a new Our Lady of Good Voyage was erected near the Children's Museum (just behind the Boston Rowing Center of which I'm a member) and only recently, the original building was gutted. The peeling Madonna was removed almost in tandem with the wave of natural disasters that ravaged the Caribbean last fall.
Ruina Avem Maris / Fall of a Sea Bird is an ongoing object and ritual performance research project sited in and beyond Boston's late Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel. My Shrine incorporates remnants extracted from the chapel after it was gutted, objects found throughout the Boston Harbor and its islands and original hand-made bricks casted from the Chapel's originals. Ruina Avem Maris simultaneously manifests an immortalizing flight and mournful burial at sea, echoing the mantra "as above so below". This work also aligns with my interests in recontextualizing mythical Sirens as matriarchal alarm systems, as seen in works such as "There are Plenty of Single Ladies in the Sea", "Aurelian Baptism" and "A Visitor's Guide to Reorientation on Spectacle Island".