This fall, New Orleans Airlift will present Space Rites: a new interactive installation and community performance series at the deconsecrated St. Maurice Church in the Lower 9th Ward, as part of “BelowCanal”: CANO Creative Spaces, and as a satellite project of Prospect.3 international art biennial.
Footsteps, voices and specially conceived performances will use the natural acoustics of the space to see sound. New Orleans artist Taylor Lee Shepherd, known for his mechanical musical inventions, has ingeniously rewired televisions to act as oscilloscopes, creating responsive and diverse light-filled visualizations of sound in the nave of the old church.
Interactive performances will occur monthly on October 26th, November 22nd, December 13th and January 7th. We will host guest musical curators like experimental guitarist Rob Cambre and diverse performers including a collaboration between a neighborhood Gospel choir and the Murmurations Choir. Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani will perform his participatory gong orchestra with local Lower 9th Ward residents and musicians.
But one of the most exciting things about this project is the joining of this art installation with community activities. Every Sunday visitors will get to hear and see the booming voice of Reverend Duplessis, of Mt. Nebo Bible Baptist Church, as he conducts his services through the oscilloscope altar. His Lower 9th Ward congregation has been displaced since Katrina and currently holds services in the Reverend's home. As his congregation continues rebuilding their own church nearly ten years after the storm, the Reverend will use this moment to reach new audiences from our unusual pulpit.
Please support this project! Your support will fund materials for producing the artwork and paying our musical performers. In addition to donating to our Kickstarter, we are accepting local donations of old, working TVs of any size and shape (except digital flatscreens).
We hope that you will join us for an inaugural musical performance at 7pm on Sunday, October 26th, that will bring the installation to life by uniting choirs from the Lower 9th Ward and beyond for a ceremonial performance experience. Admission to this performance is free and open to all.
Thank you for keeping the dream alive! New Orleans Airlift has been hard at work producing innovative projects for New Orleans-based artists to collaborate and engage with diverse communities, locally and around the globe. Past projects like The Music Box, could not have happened without your help.
Risks and challenges
As a collaborative arts group, we have faced many challenges and built many big things. We feel confident about this project because we have access to the church, we are working with community collaborators with whom we have long-standing relationships, and we know how to make oscilloscopes.
In part, the funds from this project will ensure that we can compensate our exciting musical collaborators who will bring the project to life.
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