for Ayden LeRoux
Before her Odyssey, Ayden LeRoux and her partner went on a life-changing tour of the land art of the American West. The Odyssey Works team saw in this and in the huge changes she was facing in her life—moving, leaving a job, seeking a new career, schooling, and reckoning with health challenges—as a clear call for something she had already been fascinated with: a Pilgrimage. Before her Odyssey she had received a series of letters written between a pair of women on their own pilgrimages; the letters described a mystical place they called The Place of the Fallen Star. Though she didn’t know it, this described Dark Star Park, was a piece created by land artist Nancy Holt in Arlington, VA.
Ayden’s pilgrimage would lead her from Brooklyn to Manhattan and on to Maryland and Virginia. On her final day in New York City after eight years living there, she encountered friends, family, and strangers, gathering strength from various sources of power, ultimately finding herself at Brooklyn Bridge Park. There, a crew of dancers led the public in a choreographed scene in which she was enveloped by the group and wrapped in a cocoon of sheets inscribed with people’s hopes and dreams. In this cocoon, she was transported southward, away from her home and toward her future. She arrived that night in a strange house filled with pilgrims who joined her on her journey. Together they baked bread and then began a fast.
What followed was a long and arduous journey with many beautiful encounters. Ayden traveled by foot and train and car, covering many miles as she headed toward the Place of the Fallen Star. As she approached the pilgrimage site, she was given a pilgrim’s tunic, regalia made by a Native American woman who had faced similar health issues, and talismans inscribed with the wishes of friends and strangers.
At the end of her journey—sunset at Dark Star Park—she joined the other pilgrims as they left their offerings along with their petitions. The offering was both collective and personal, and as the night overtook the moment, the group dispersed and went on the rest of their life journeys, and Ayden did as well.
New York: 3B Bed and Breakfast, QLabs, East River Ferry, The New York Picture Library; Maryland: private homes, Church and Company, The C&O Canal Tow Path; Virginia: Dark Star Park in Arglington, VA. Public Scene: Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Director: Abraham Burickson; Assistant Director: Darienne Turner, Formal Structure Team: Abraham Burickson, Darienne Turner, Eulani Labay; Production Manager & Director of Communications: Ana B. Freeman; Graphic Designers: Sasha Wizansky, Miles Holenstein, Brooke Thyng; Public Participation Coordinators: Eulani Labay, Kelly Tierney; Writing: Dare Turner, Laurel Lathrop, Abraham Burickson, Ana Freeman; Culinary team: Timothy Skehan, Lucas Loredo, Laura Wexle; Votive Artist: Kristen Racaniello; Workshop Design and Facilitation: Kelsey Crouch, Abraham Burickson; Scavenger Hunt Design: Ana Freeman; Tunic and Regalia Design: Stormi Turner; Curator of Pilgrimage Ephemera: Dare Turner; Dancers: Kristin Swiat, Maya Orchin, Jessica Meyer, Adam Robert Dickerson, Shelby Dinslage; Choreographers: Kristin Swiat, Maya Orchin, Jessica Meyers; Guides: Leanne Zacharias, Rick Moody, Graham Coreil-Allen; Mapping: Graham Coreil-Allen, Abraham Burickson, Dare Turner, Ana Freeman; Key Actors/ Scene Designers: Ariel Abrahams, Abraham Burickson, Dare Turner, Claudie Grout, Xandra Clark, Ana Freeman, Lucas Loredo, Rick Moody, Nate Brown, Duff Norris, Adam Sica, Leanne Zacharias, Lindsey Griffith; Pilgrims: Miles Holenstein, Laura Pazuchowski, Paul Spitz, Adam Sica, Ana Freeman, Duff Norris, Lindsey Griffith, Xandra Clark, Katy McCarthy; Photography: Xandra Clark, Katy McCarthy, Sasha Wizansky, Zorawar Sidhu; Pilgrim House Design: Paul Spitz; Publicity: Jaime Nelson-Noven, John Madera; Workshop Participants: Sasha Wizansky, Stephanie Hsu, Timothy Skehan, Joshua LaTour, Dare Turner, Ana Freeman, Adam Sica, Claudie Grout. Special thanks to QLabs and all members of the public who participated in the New York, or Baltimore Public Scenes or via postcard from around the world.