Frozen Words features a 17-minute, 12.1 channel sound-work that places the audience aboard a ship in an icy sea. It reimagines a scene from Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel (1552) in which words and sounds, frozen in mid-air during a harsh winter, thaw and burst into the present. My retelling of this event culminates in the 21st century hate speech of Donald Trump that explodes around the listener. It uses this fantastical scene as an analogy for the cycle of media transmission that births and perpetuates caustic and divisive language. The work includes glass and neon elements and a printed broadside that listeners can read as they sit, lie down, or walk in the gallery. It was supported a Queens Council grant, and a residency at Outpost Artist Resources.
Documentation Video (2min)
The video is a brief introduction to the project. It includes preliminary drawings, installation shots and images of visitors listening to the work. The audio captures the moment at which the sound suddenly shifts from the past to the present.
* Headphones recommended
Frozen Words Broadside
The broadside includes the complete text of the Rabelais’ FrozenWords chapter, but it also shares an additional speculative chapter that I’ve written in the style of Rabelais. In this fabrication, some of the frozen words, packed in crates with hay and oil, are lost at sea. They are found by fishermen, brought to the queen and then to the alchemists. They thaw the hateful words in their laboratory with dire consequences. The broadside also includes original drawings depicting the scenes described.
This is the card for the Frozen Words Exhibition at Local Project Art Space.