Commissioned for the historic opening of the Spur, the last section of the High Line, We Are Here is a series of text-based sound installations that span several locations of the High Line. Claudia Rankine wrote the text with Helga Davis and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, with sound by Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste.
The High Line is a place of passage—through time, through encounters. One threads along the elevated pathway, which is at once tunnel and viewing podium and park. The landscape, the streets, and the byways form and conform with forgotten histories and glass structures rising to absorb, obstruct, and create time. We Are Here celebrates what it means to be in relation to time, with all its pleasures of serendipity, and all the change, destruction, and renewal that accompanies the construction of modernity.
This audio experience engages and recognizes the presence of people seen and unseen in the movement of time. The architecture of the elevated walk recalibrates a vantage point for the public, who may find the horizon has shifted. Audiences can experience We Are Here in four locations on the High Line: two balconies in the Coach Passage along 30th Street, the 23rd Street Seating Steps, and in the Sunken Overlook at 17th Street. The soundscape can be heard during park hours.
The etymology of the word “here” (Old English for “in the place where one puts oneself”) reminds us how we inhabit time. We Are Here explores the meaning of urban presence, and asks: What does it mean to recognize “here” and all its related states: heretofore, hereabout, hereafter, hence?Download the transcript
ABOUT CLAUDIA RANKINE:
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric; two plays including The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published with Graywolf Press in March 2019; numerous video collaborations; and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Among her many awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Rankine teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). She lives in New Haven, CT.
ABOUT LATASHA N. NEVADA DIGGS:
A writer, vocalist and sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013), a collection of songs, poems and myths. Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center. As an independent curator and artistic director, she has staged events at BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and El Museo del Barrio and is the co-founder and co-editor of Coon Bidness/SO4 Magazine. A native of Harlem and Cave Canem fellow, LaTasha is the recipient of numerous awards, including Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Laundromat Project, the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S.–Japan Friendship Commission.
ABOUT JEREMY TOUSSAINT-BAPTISTE:
Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste is a New York based artist, composer, and performer. He received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Music Composition/Sound Design in 2018 and has presented visual and performance work at spaces including MoMA PS1(NY); Performance Space New York (NY); The Brooklyn Museum (NY); The Kitchen (NY); The Studio Museum in Harlem (NY); The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA); FringeArts, (PA); Tanz Im August at HAU3 (Berlin); and Stoa Cultural Center (Helsinki). Toussaint-Baptiste was a 2017 artist-in-residence at Issue Project Room and has also contributed writing to Artforum. He is a founding member of the performance collective Wildcat! and frequently collaborates with performers and visual artists including Will Rawls, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, and Jonathan Gonzalez. Toussaint-Baptiste holds an MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performance and Interactive Media Arts program.
ABOUT HELGA DAVIS:
Helga Davis is the recipient of the 2019 Greenfield Prize in composition. She was a principal actor in the 25th anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’ seminal opera Einstein on the Beach, and the recipient of the 2014 BRIC Media Arts Fireworks Grant. She is an artist-in-residence at National Sawdust, host of the eponymous podcast HELGA on WQXR/New Sounds, and is the 2018-21 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Major support for High Line Programs is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston.
High Line Accessibility and Programs are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson.