ICELANDx207 / Container: Justin Levesque
Icelandic shipping company, Eimskip, moved their North American headquarters to Portland, Maine, in 2013 and as a state, Maine has since quietly dipped its toe into colder water; using Iceland to ease our gaze from our navels to the north.
Newly arrived royal blue shipping containers at the International Marine Terminal signify both the growing exchange of goods + services and a hidden cultural + human entanglement that needed to be observed, recorded and shared.
In September 2015, Levesque spent nine days on board the MV Selfoss, an Eimskip container ship traveling from Portland to Iceland, part of their Green Line shipping route.
Using photography and recorded audio, Levesque chronicled life aboard the ship, material culture of shipping and made formal portraits of the all-Icelandic crew. In a nine-episode podcast ICELANDx207: Green Line, Levesque conducts interviews with the crew and shares his day-to-day experiences traveling on the North Atlantic Ocean.
Levesque describes Eimskip’s Green Line as “the invisible thread that connects our two cities, countries, cultures and economies“.
In 2016, Levesque created ICELANDx207: Container, a multimedia installation exhibited in an Eimskip shipping container from September 27 through October 12, in Portland, Maine.
The exhibition was on view in conjunction with the 2016 Arctic Council, an international conference dedicated to economic development in the Arctic region. Hosted by the Maine North Atlantic Development Office, the event took place at the adjacent Westin Portland Harborview from October 4 through 6, 2016.
While walking through the container, viewers were encouraged to use their mobile devices to experience the exhibition's interactive audio guide.
This audio guide was accessed by using a phone to call the hotline and then entering label's number to hear the corresponding audio.
Audio prompts were paired with a formal portrait of each of the eleven members of the Selfoss crew along the right wall. These audio portraits provided an account of a life at sea in their own voices. They were recorded while sailing from Portland, ME to Reykjavík and originally appeared on the Green Line podcast.
Audio prompts were punctuated throughout the left wall among images of the ship's material culture and daily happenings. These audio stories provided an examination of Maine's shipping past and future and were included to provide a broader context to the State's emerging relationship the North Atlantic region. Recorded + produced by Galen Koch in collaboration with Justin Levesque.