Wherever There Is Water:
the journey of our heroine, Huberta
Artist George Ferrandi is currently experimenting with using the ancient performative tradition of the procession as a way to tell a contemporary narrative. The “back story” for Wherever There Is Water is about a fictional elderly couple who had been married and living on Coney Island with a view of the ocean for sixty years.
Recently, she'd gotten a lot more “dreamy” and her husband had gotten much more frail. Their adult children feared their elderly parents couldn't take care of each other any more. Neither of the kids thought they could tend to both parents, so after selling off their house, the son took his dad to Maine and the daughter took her mom to Florida.
The distraught old man whispered to his confused wife as they were getting packed into separate cars, that she shouldn't be afraid… that “wherever there is water”, he would be with her.
Some months later, in her daughter's house, Huberta got up from her rocking chair in the middle of the night, and when she saw her pocket book by the door, it occurred to her she was going out… and so she did. The screen door slammed behind her, but not loud enough to wake anyone in the house who was sleeping, so before anyone noticed she was gone, she was well on her way — shuffling through the suburbs in her bunny slippers towards the swamp in search of her love and her former life…
The rest of the story tells of Huberta's adventures on her quest north by way of many bodies of water. She walks through dark rivers flanked by cypress trees and watering holes in fake safaris and fountains in bustling cities. She encounters many perils along the way, and many unexpected heroes.
Huberta keeps meandering north, and by the time she gets to Richmond, someone has written an article about her, so by the time she gets to Baltimore, she has a following. When she arrives in Philadelphia — this town of great parades, and home of the first parade in the United States — she is greeted with open arms and a night procession that recreates her journey so far with sculptural translations of her adventures…
For more information, please visit George Ferrandi's Wherever There Is Water blog.
Images: [top] George Ferrandi, concept sketch of Huberta's procession; [bottom] Huberta herself, ready for the procession through the streets of South Philadelphia (photograph by James G. Mundie)
Wherever There Is Water is supported by an Artists & Communities grant. Artists & Communities, a program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, is made possible by major funding from the Heintz Endowments, the William Penn Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.