I stayed at a 19th century home in the Welcome Project building in Camp Washington, Cincinnati, Ohio, for the first two months of 2022. People told me that this might be the coldest time of the year, and I truly agreed with that – three snowstorms hit Cincinnati during my stay, and I kept two heaters in my room to stay warm. My friends thought I didn't have a pair of "proper" boots to survive the winter. They even started to ask about my shoe size and tried to donate boots to me.
They told me that the Camp Washington area has historically been led by the meatpacking industry – "Porkopolis" was once Cincinnati's nickname. A canal used to be running through this neighborhood. It can be hardly traced nowadays, beside a mural that stands on the fork-road to the direction of the University of Cincinnati. Due to competition from railroads, which began to be built in the area in the 1850s, the commercial use of the canal gradually declined and was permanently abandoned for commercial use in 1913 after a historic flood. The older people who have never left Cincinnati spread amazing stories of them swimming in the canal in the summertime —they would come across animals from the slaughterhouses while floating in the water. Only one pork/sausage workshop is still running in this area. No crying and screaming of the pigs or cows from the slaughterhouses lingers in the air anymore. However, I can always sense a sharp sorrow singing from the nearby rail yard, which kept me awake all night. Later I figured it was the squeezing sound caused by the friction between rails and trains. "it's the singing of the whales," people told me, "the Camp Washington whales."
I designed a dinner event with these fish, 50 human beings were invited and they came and enjoyed the night with the fish on Feb 6th 2022.
The fish's stories were celebrated, their shapes and flavors were remembered.