MATTHEW BUCKINGHAM MAPS THE HUDSON RIVER’S TURBULENT COLONIZATION IN A FILM SCREENED ON BOARD A NEW YORK WATER TAXI
Creative Time presents Matthew Buckingham’s film Muhheakantuck - Everything has a Name with free screenings aboard a New York Water Taxi, navigating the river from Christopher Street to the film’s endpoint at the Statue of Liberty, and back. The 40-minute-long film features a single continuous shot from a helicopter as it traveled above the Hudson River. The film is accompanied by a narration by the artist meditating on the region’s turbulent history, and asks the question, “What role does social memory play in defining the present moment?” The screenings, two per evening, launch during the Armory Show weekend and continue into the first weekend in April. The trip is free, but reservations are required.
Buckingham’s film explores the social and political impact of the relatively brief but violent period of contact between Dutch colonists and the Lower Hudson River Valley’s indigenous Lenape people. By examining how maps are constructed, how places are named (and thereby owned), and what stories are left silent, the film exposes the consequences of Henry Hudson’s journey. Buckingham's narrative reminds us that “The river that became known as the Hudson was not discovered—it was invented and re-invented.”
The film describes how differences between the languages of the Lenape and colonists were integral to how each group experienced concepts of place, but that for all people, maps and other abstractions of place are like histories: condensed versions that contain only shades of truth.
Passengers will board a NY Water Taxi on Manhattan’s West Side at Pier 45. The screenings will take place in the early evening, when the light is low yet still present, allowing viewers to see the river from the windows of the boat—linking the present with the historical narrative of the film.
Muhheakantuck - Everything Has a Name was originally commissioned by Minetta Brook as part of Watershed: The Hudson Valley Art Project, and is being presented in honor of Diane Shamash.
Matthew Buckingham will concurrently show two new works—the film installation False Future and the video installation Everything I Need—at Murray Guy Gallery, New York City, from March 1 to April 12.