Sculptor and music professor join forces for project

May 26, 2016 8:45 AM

New Wave staff

The cartographic audio installation, “Songs of Home Songs of Change.”

"Songs of Home Songs of Change" is a cartographic audio installation piece collaboratively created by sculptor Jebney Lewis, composer and electronic music artist Rick Snow, writer Christopher Staudinger, and a host of New Orleans high school students. (Photo from A Studio in the Woods)

“What does ‘home’ sound like, and what are the sounds of its changing?”

Jebney Lewis, sculptor

The latest “Flint and Steel” project sponsored by A Studio in the Woods, which brings together an artist and a faculty member to develop new work, has paired a sculptor and a composer of electronic music to create a cartographic audio installation piece called “Songs of Home Songs of Change.”

The collaboration brought together sculptor Jebney Lewis with Rick Snow, a professor of practice who oversees the music science and technology studies in the Newcomb Department of Music. Working with them were writer Christopher Staudinger and New Orleans high school students from Big Class, Sci Academy, The Net Charter High School, Bard Early College of New Orleans and Lusher Charter School.

Their joint project is available for viewing through June 26 at the Creative Alliance of New Orleans, 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

Lewis, the resident artist, says the installation features a map of the wards of New Orleans, rendered in steel plates and sonified by electric transducers.

“The plates play fundamental resonant tones and an array of field recordings,” he says. “These recordings, and the writings that accompany them, have been gathered and written by over 40 area high school students in response to the prompt: ‘What does ‘home’ sound like, and what are the sounds of its changing?’”

Through sculpture, audio and the written word, the piece presents the city’s terrain as a site for the formation of personal and cultural identities — a site that is constantly modulated by weather events, demolition and rebuilding, struggles for power and agency, and the effects of gentrification, Lewis says.

The artists also are working on an additional piece — a map of the interstate highway system, rendered in repurposed and playable brass instruments. Over the summer, the artists will commission local composers to set new work on the map. Public performances are planned during a future exhibition this fall.

A Studio in the Woods, an artists’ retreat center, is a program of Tulane University.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu