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A LETTER TO THE ISLANDERS
Published in the local community paper The Wire on 23.02.2008




Dear Roosevelt Islanders,



A Necessary Music: a film about Roosevelt Island.

Artist Beatrice Gibson and musician and composer Alex Waterman are working together on a film about your island. The film is about islands and their music or about island music. We would like to invite you to be part of this process and part of this film, to be its authors and its actors.

We’d like to begin by listening to your island: its public spaces, its buildings, its parks, and its pathways. We will record the histories, futures, facts, and fictions that are part of the island and that makeup its everyday music. Most of all, we’d like to listen to the voices that inhabit it - to you, in fact. We’d like to know what it is like to live in a place less than half a mile wide, to inhabit buildings designed by modernist architects inspired by utopian ideals, to travel to work in an aerial tramway, and to live next to 19th century ruins. As we look at Roosevelt Island from Manhattan or Queens, it seems so quiet - even silent. As we stand immersed in the noises of the city, we’d like to know if the island really is as silent as it seems.

With your help we want to compose and develop a new ‘island music’ and write a script for a film that begins by listening to you and to your island. We want to author and produce with you a work of art inspiredby your daily lives. Accompanying this letter is a set of possible questions. You could answer one or all of them or you could ask a whole new set of questions. Its up to you.

The final film will be shot in the second week of April and will be
exhibited by the Whitney Museum of American Art and Storefront for Art
and Architecture this coming May, before being screened at various venues in London and the UK during 2008.

Yours Sincerely



Beatrice Gibson and Alex Waterman.

Funded by The Graham Foundation For Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Arts Council England.