Warren Tallman, Walt Whitman, Evan Berg: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

by Karis Shearer (AMP Lab Director)

In spring 2019 the UBCO SpokenWeb team commissioned multimedia artist Evan Berg (BFA ’19) to create a short film drawing on an archival recording from the AMP Lab’s SoundBox Collection. I was personally very moved by the result. This beautiful cinematic meditation on water-crossing, temporality, technologies, and geography draws its visual inspiration from a circa 1967 audio recording of UBC English professor Warren Tallman reading Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” along to Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins.” It was filmed in Vancouver in May, 2019 and screened as part of the UBCO SpokenWeb’s three-day “SoundBox” event at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at UBC’s Vancouver campus as part of the university’s public programming. There, Evan gave daily artist talks which contextualized and theorized this stunning work and has more recently discussed its creation on the SpokenWeb podcast episode #3 Invisible Labour.

We are grateful to the Tallman estate for their kind permission to feature the archival recording online.