Johann Diedrick

Cerulean Waters

Johann Diedrick
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Cerulean Waters highlights the Newtown Creek, a body of water in New York City separating Brooklyn and Queens, known both as one of the largest superfund sites in the city and one of the most polluted areas in the country.

Cascading between original music composition and hydrophonic field recordings, the work reveals the area’s post-industrial present, its storied past, and its uncertain future through audio recordings taken while boating along its water and walking around its neighboring streets at night.

The work features original music composition inspired by the waterway, weaving in underwater field recordings and voice-overs from local historian Mitch Waxman, who talks about the development of the area from a small residential neighborhood to the center of industrial gas and oil refinement.

The sounds of waste management trucks, industrial cranes, and cars zooming past overhead on highways offer a stark reminder of how a former marshland was paved over and dredged from below in order to create a paradise for toxic dumping, rapid development, and unrestrained activities that diminished a local ecosystem.

Cerulean Waters invites us to contemplate the creek's history, consider its present situation within New York City's sonic ecosystem, and speculate on its future.