A Long Wait (ALW) is a biennial event series and platform for artistic inquiry that uses Fort Gorges – an obsolete military fort turned public space on Hog Island in Portland, Maine’s Casco Bay – as context, material, and site for performance, sound, and social practice artworks. The public is invited on boat excursions to Fort Gorges where artists facilitate inventive and meaningful engagement with the site’s history and architecture.
Fort Gorges is one of the most dramatic visual landmarks in the area, but its history is one of prolonged waiting and unfulfilled expectations. The fort was first proposed following the War of 1812, but wasn’t constructed until after the end of the American Civil War, more than 50 years later. In a strange twist of fate, by the time it was almost complete, modern explosives had made the fort defunct. This instant ruin is now an underutilized public park. Responding to the fort as icon and conceptual inspiration, ALW aims to give purpose to this site whose arresting physical presence belies the banality of its true history.