Announcing This Summer’s Expedition



In previous years, I have exhibited the project in the Midwest on the Mississippi River and in the Southeast on the Tennessee River. Over three years of the project, I’ve collected over 75 oral history interviews spanning 200 hours of recording, exhibited a dozen times, lived six months in the boat on the river, traveled over 1000 river miles, and talked to thousands of people.

This year, I bring the project “home” to the historic Sacramento River, a river I am deeply familiar with after 3 different punk rafting trips on the river.

I am currently talking to the Sacramento History Museum about a month long exhibit for the month of July. Exciting things planned are an installation at the museum, artist talks, and exhibitions of the Secret History shantyboat.Santa Cruz artist on daring river voyage through Central California


Santa Cruz artist on daring river voyage through Central California

For the last several years, Santa Cruz artist Wes Modes set sail on major American rivers and floated for months at a time to collect the stories of people who live and work on the river from the deck of his shantyboat. This year, Modes, his crew, and dog Hazel are launching in Red Bluff for a journey down the length of the Sacramento River.

Modes seeks out people whose stories are not typically part of the historical record. “I try to find our elders who grew up here and remember a different time and a different river. I talk to poor and working folk and people who grew up along the Sacramento River. I find the stories of Latino and African-American folk and the stories of native people.”


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