Under Island Songs

Listen to The General Slocum

Storytelling, participatory singing, and artist's book featuring original shape note songs in "Special Reconnaissance_" at Gigantic ArtSpace, NYC, January 2007.

Limited Edition CD featuring eleven songs published by Gigantic ArtSpace for the "Special Reconnaissance_" show, December 2005.

Solo exhibition and performance at the Contemporary Artists Center, November 10, 2005, North Adams, MA.

Story developed and texts written by Carrie Dashow. Music written by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg. Participatory singing developed jointly featuring readings by Carrie Dashow; Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, Singing Master. Tunebook and CD digital graphic design and layout by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg; Screen prints and illustrations by Carrie Dashow.

Read more about the Under Island project on the Society for a Subliminal State web site, visit the page for the Under Island CD, or listen to a recording from the 2005 event at the Contemporary Artists Center.

Under Island documents a turbulent and unmapped history. Carrying out psychical and physical research for months, Carrie uncovered the island as a living breathing monster that after gaining its sight, desires to leave Manhattan's East River. Carrie tells the island's story through a mix of assumptive and fact-based evidence, creating a narrative that is truer than true.

In its expression here, the Under Island story is told through original shape note song poems, written by Carrie and Jesse. Since the late 1700s shape note tunesmiths have written songs while traveling from town to town, teaching music. Beginning in New England in the 1770s, the egalitarian singing tradition these itinerant singing masters promoted travelled west and south, settling in Georgia and Alabama, and was driven from the Northeast by the mid-19th Century. The songs these tunesmiths wrote, often named for the locations where they were written, are a subliminal record of these tunesmiths' lives and the relationship of individual, community, history, and geography.

Under Island is the first chapter of The Subliminal History of New York State, a tracing the monster's route of progress from New York City up the Hudson River and West along the Erie Canal. Acting as subliminal socio-archaeologists Carrie and Jesse toured New York State, following the monster and tracing the footsteps of the itinerants of New York's past. On their stops around the state, Carrie and Jesse presented their discoveries leading singing schools from a growing collection of songs, poems, stories, and participatory activities, developed as they followed the route.

Under Island performance at Gigantic ArtSpace Limited Edition Under Island Artist's CD Under Island singing school at Gigantic ArtSpace