Listening to the Mississippi by Monica Moses Haller

Where to listen?

“Listening to the Mississippi” is an iterative project, a grouping of underwater sounds recorded in and around the river, a series of artworks and actions that have unfolded over 10 years. In this iteration, the project takes the form as a series of seven soundtracks and a book, “notes for listening.” Visitors can find this work at the Checkout Locations below, where you are invited to check out wireless headphones with the sound tracks and take the free companion book, “notes for listening.”

Or listen to the sound tracks online at using your own computer or mobile device. When listening to the sound tracks we suggest using over-ear headphones, if they are available to you, for the best sound quality.

Check Out Locations:

  1. City House Restaurant

(Located in an historic 6-story grain elevator on the banks of the Mississippi River, just west of Upper Landing Park)

258 Mill St.

St Paul, MN 55102


  1. Capitol City Station

1205 S Homer St

St Paul, MN 55116


  1. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Visitor Center (Located in the Science Museum of Minnesota, First Floor Lobby)

120 W Kellogg Blvd

St Paul, MN 55102


  1. Carl W. Kroening Nature Center (Located in the North Mississippi Regional Park)

4900 N Mississippi Dr

Minneapolis, MN 55430


“Listening to the Mississippi” is an iterative project, a grouping of underwater sounds recorded in and around the river, a series of artworks and actions that have unfolded over 10 years. Here, those sounds are engaged by Tia-Simone Gardner, artist and Black feminist scholar; Matt Rahaim, composer and ethnomusicologist; Michi Wiancko and Judd Greenstein, composers and musicians; and Monica Moses Haller, artist. Each person has their own multitude of ways of coming to the river.  Some soundtracks are simple sounds, one recording within the water. Other tracks are compositions of layered sounds made by the artists here.

Here, sound is a medium to enter personal, environmental, political, emotional realities. Sound recordings are limited, and they are signifiers. They can offer listeners a subtle, non-visual way to enter deeper into a place, the present, the past, the future, and one’s own imagination.

I started listening because there was a familial distance that the river began to connect. This distance was contemporary and ancestral; and the river contained that over time. I listen to connect to the border relationships and broader systems of which the sounds are a part, of which I am a part. This is one way my ear is bent. How do you listen? What’s your inclination?

The book, notes for listening, share perceptions of the sounds written by the artists and me in April, 2023. These notes are not fixed; if we wrote them last year, or next month they would change routes, flow differently. By the end of the summer, they will be refuted and changed. We approach listening “as a process rather than a certainty.”1 An invitation to learn, attune, to know and pay attention.

The book, “notes for listening” also invites the participant to write what they hear. The blank pages make room for what cannot be contained here and the things that are not named.

What do you hear? What do you know? How do you change?

Monica Moses Haller

  1. Hopinka, Sky. “The Centers of Somewhere,” Walker Art Center, Crosscuts, April 16, 2018,

“I’m beginning to understand how to be a listener, without being a spectator, and knowing that it is a pursuit of process rather than certainty.”


Sound Compositions 

Judd Greenstein

Monica Moses Haller

Matt Rahaim

Michi Wiancko

Sound Recordings along the Mississippi 

Monica Moses Haller

Sebastian Muellauer

Sound Processing 


Harriet Matzdorf

Monica Moses Haller

Audio Production and Mastering 

Matt Rahaim

Notes for Listening Text 

Tia-Simone Gardner

Jaysen Hohlen

Monica Moses Haller

Matt Rahaim

Text Editing 

Patricia Briggs

Jaysen Hohlen

Patricia Moses

Angela Tillges

Book Design

Matt Rezac

Box Design 

Brendan Barrett

Box Materials 

Wood from the Hood 

Project Manager 

Jaysen Hohlen

Thank you Collaborators 

Thank you to all collaborators on previous iterations of this project. Your artwork, ideas and collaboration made the work then, and they continue to build it here. Thank you Albertine Kimble and Greg Beale in Conversations Down River. (2008) Adriana Knouf, Sara Pajunen, Molly Reichert and Jonathan Zorn in Can you Listen to the same river twice? (2013) Sebastian Muellauer, A Studio in the Woods, John Ruskey, Mike Clark, David Weiss and many others in Listening to the Mississippi: from the Headwaters to the Gulf. (2015) Tia-Simone Gardner, Matt Rahaim, Monique Verdin, Michi Wiancko, Judd Greenstein, Prerna, Harriet Matzdorf, Paul Smith and Erika Terwilliger in Listening to the Mississippi. (2019)

Thank You Funders 

This iteration of Listening to the Mississippi was commissioned for the inaugural Wakpa Triennia, presented by Public Art Saint Paul with support from the Knight Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Thank you to all of the organizations for their generous support.