After the Run was an installation storytelling at EMAPC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center), Troy, New York, told in video, sound and lights. It started with the eel run: a migration that happens each September with the coming of the new moon. As the eels pass through the Delaware River by night, the Great Bear Ursa Major is recreated above New York’s Catskill Mountains in twinkling lights. After the run, the story winds into a myriad of conjoined tales, crossing oceans, histories, memories and lives, from Athena to King John and me, Helen of Troy.
Rumor has it that once, in the Cretan water of lake Kournas, the reflections of the White Mountains writhed with freshwater eel. Under the watchful eyes of Athena’s temple they were comrades with the little owl Glaucus. Five thousand miles away under the footprint of the Catskills, a fisherman ran an eel weir on the Delaware River. As he harvested the run he was watched by eagles and bears and bees. They danced in the shadows of rabbits and deer, watched by the new moon and stars.
Or, perhaps I’ll tell you this…
For three years, I watched the low heavy fenlands of rural England flood and recede. There were eels there once, in their thousands. They wove across the wet fields and teemed through the Great Ouse river that empties into the cold North Sea. King John lost the Crown Jewels there once, on the causeway of the Wash. His horse-drawn carts were too slow for the rising tide and all was lost but the king. But, I digress.
Those eels were trapped and fished, smoked, and jellied. They furnished the bellies of herons and coons. But they are united: E Pluribus Unum; Out of many, one.
The rest of this story is still untold.