DALE ROTHENBERG
613-04-007






    There are over three hundred large cruise ships in the world. At any given time, half a million people may be at sea. And each ship has hundreds, if not thousands, of crew members. Most of the deckhands and lower-paying positions come from the Philippines and stay for contracts that last up to a year. Many of these ships are registered in places like the Bahamas and Bermuda, which allow for US-based companies to pay well below minimum wage and neglect safety measures for an international workforce. Also, the cruise industry is expected to grow about fifty percent in the next ten years.
    I began working on ships after a minor post-graduation crisis, as many other musicians must go through before moving to New York or Chicago. I knew some other people who had played music on ships, and it seemed like a nice way to avoid the harsh realities of the music business. Soon, I had been handed Emergency-Response-Plan cards (like the one pictured above) by a bunch of the major cruise lines. Sometimes I would just sit in for a few weeks with a band that needed a keyboard player; other times I’d join a band for half a year.
    I hadn’t really considered making an art project about cruise ships, though. For a while I didn’t make much of anything. Then, I began making photographs with some ideas for a formal photography essay. But a lot has changed since then. I think it’s important to weigh all of your interests when considering one’s artistic practice. And so on this website (currently under construction, sorry) you will soon find a collection of my many interests, laid out across multiple pages.



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