Saltwater Soundwalk is a podcast that takes listeners on a journey from Gas Works Park along the Burke Gilman trail to the entrance of the Ship Canal at the Fremont Bridge and explores the people, land, and waterways that define Seattle. Artists Jenny Asarnow and Rachel Lam (Anigiduwagi enrolled Cherokee Nation) created Saltwater Soundwalk as a site-specific audio experience that explores our relationships and responsibilities towards the Salish Sea and connecting waters, centering on Indigenous Coast Salish voices and language.
The audio experience includes a 50-minute-long walk and 12 one-to-three-minute shorts, which can be listened to on-site or anywhere in the world. Individuals featured include Ken Workman (Duwamish), Warren King George (Muckleshoot), Michelle Myles (Tulalip), Archie Cantrell (Puyallup), LaDean Johnson (Skokomish), Owen Oliver (Quinault / Isleta Pueblo), Lydia Sigo (Suquamish), Randi Purser (Suquamish), RYAN! Feddersen (FLOW artist, Confederated Tribes of the Colville – Okanogan / Arrow Lakes), and Eric Autry (Seattle Public Utilities). The podcast is available on Soundcloud, and all podcast applications.
“Artists Jenny Asarnow and Rachel Lam curate centuries of melodic legacy to change and challenge our expectations of our environment and history through these multi-dimensional experiences. They capture our sharpened emotions and share them back to each of us for known and unknown purposes. Their authentic listening is unapologetic in its monumental appreciation and respect. The resulting polyphonic music of unforgiving life lyrics is everywhere for everyone.”royal alley-barnes, Acting Director Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
The podcast is a rhythmic audio experience connecting streams of stories as they ebb and flow, intermixing English with Coast Salish languages. Listeners can learn where the traditional fishing ground “Hit the Water” is located in Seattle. The podcast also explores the traditional Tulalip names of local places, the colonial history of Seattle, and the construction of the Ship Canal. The audio narrative also highlights Indigenous rights, responsibilities, and cultural preservation that are essential to healing these waters, our relationship to them and to each other.
In addition, the podcast includes narratives from public artists and a Seattle Public Utilities manager about how we all impact our living waterways. It provides a unique opportunity to experience how we all connect to the Salish Sea area and is a step towards creating healthier human relationships with this changing ecosystem.
Saltwater Soundwalk is a component of FLOW: Art Along the Ship Canal, an art project that commissions artists to showcase their unique voice and provide connections between the people, neighborhoods, and infrastructure that supports the city and its residents and is funded through Seattle Public Utilities Ship Canal Water Quality Project. Seattle Public Utilities and King County Wastewater Treatment Division are building an underground storage tunnel to significantly reduce the amount of polluted stormwater (from rain) and sewage that flows into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, and Lake Union from our sewer system.
The Seattle Office of Art & Culture’s 1% for Public Art program is funded through 1% of eligible city capital improvement projects across Seattle. Its staff works to commission, purchase, and install public artworks in a variety of settings. By providing opportunities for individuals to encounter art in parks, libraries, community centers, on roadways, bridges, and other public venues, we simultaneously enrich citizens’ daily lives and give voice to artists. By providing opportunities for individuals to encounter art in parks, libraries, community centers, on roadways, bridges, and other public venues, we simultaneously enrich citizens’ daily lives and give voice to artists.