Another Language Performing Arts Company’s latest project Ghost Town is currently in development but is already generating excitement in artists across a number of disciplines. Ghost Town is a crowd-sourced, online event involving artistic work inspired by Utah ghost towns and will be unveiled in 2015 as the company’s signature project marking their 30th anniversary.
Founded in Salt Lake City in 1985 by Elizabeth and Jimmy Miklavcic, Another Language is known for combining art forms in innovative ways and broadening access to community arts education with the aid of current communications technology.
“For our 30th anniversary we wanted to celebrate by creating an opportunity for western artists to participate in a Utah-themed project,” says Jimmy. “We already have photographers, visual artists, dancers, writers, sound designers and musicians involved. They are creating very interesting content and we are excited to see what people come up with.”
The creation of original content inspired by a Utah ghost town is wide open to the artist’s interpretation. Possibilities include photographs, movies, animations, visual art, music, soundscapes, poetry, text compositions and multimedia. Correlations between historical ghost towns and modern conceptual ghost towns are encouraged. What is your personal ghost town? What do you see, think, and feel when experiencing a place that was once thriving? These are the type of questions they want artists to ask.
“I created content for the Ghost Town project about the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, where Jimmy and I went into the Substation Shell and the Salt Lake Garfield and Western Railroad Car 502 to shoot video and stills for the TorinOver10 festival in Torino, Italy,” says Elizabeth Miklavcic.
The Miklavcics certainly aren’t the only ones who have wandered around the remnants near Saltair, and her image of the railroad car will strike a chord with many. That the railroad car was torn down last year gives the image a special poignancy, imbuing it with the same sense of nostalgia and mystery we feel in ghost towns.
“I used the stills to explain our own personal ghost town of being unexpectedly laid off from our jobs,” Elizabeth says. “I think all of us have personal metaphorical ghost towns in our lives, this makes the exploration of ghost towns intriguing. I imagine the mystery of the story, and what these places were like in their heyday.”
Sound engineer and industrial designer Kevin Gray will be building binaural headphones and microphones, which can record an astonishing realistic three-dimensional stereo sound field around their location. He will record the environmental sounds of Standardville in Carbon County in the early morning and then in the evening, giving the listener the opportunity to compare the subtle differences in the soundscapes.
Phillip Bimstein and Red Rock Rondo are contributing their “Back & Forth (A Ghost Story)” about the sighting of two ghosts in Grafton nearly 90 years ago. Their music video is performed in the Grafton cemetery.
Lily Havey, (the only exception to the focus on Utah ghost towns, because of her personal experience), is creating paintings inspired by her internship as a Japanese American at the Amache Relocation Camp in Granada, Colorado. She also stayed as a young girl at Topaz in Delta, Utah, but another artist had already reserved that site.
There are over 150 ghost towns in Utah and participating artists are welcome to add others that may not be listed on Another Language’s site. “We hope that this project will take on a life of it’s own and involve many artists from many different backgrounds. Ironically this project is a celebration of life, by acknowledging life’s transience. The only reality we have is the present and it is important for all of us is to live fully in the present,” says Jimmy Miklavcic.
The deadline for content is July 2015, but web pages are built as soon as content becomes available. Reservations and artistic works are presently being accepted. Registration is required, because once a ghost town is selected by an artist it is no longer available. In that way as much of the state can be covered as possible. Sites can be reserved at: anotherlanguage.org. The program will be “unveiled” in August 2015, though viewers can presently see each site as it becomes available. The project will be on permanent exhibit at www.anotherlanguage.org.
The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.