“Tell the Story”
“Tell the Story” is a study on the misreadings arising from translating among casual speech, print, and digital media, and the not-so-transparent influence of digital media formats. This work is a preliminary inquiry toward future works adding an artistic component to the “After Combat” project of millennial war stories at Texas A&M University.
As the audience enters the installation space, they will hear spoken “verses” and “choruses,” drawn from historical accounts of war from transcribed interviews. The “verse” sections are read by Elisabeth Blair with audio glitches introduced by custom software, including dropouts, corrupted streams (as with a bad cellphone signal), and “scrubbing” sounds from rewinding/fast forwarding—such a common mode of taking in digital speech, nonlinearly. The chorus sections are read by many voices in heterophony, highlighting the multitude of inflection that readers might interpret as they read the transcriptions aloud.
As the audience reaches the inside of the installation area, they will see a screen inviting them to record a line of the chorus and join the crowd. Their voice will be heard along with the others who came before.
Jeff Morris is a sound artist who has presented work in venues ranging from the Triennale museum in Milan and Onassis Cultural Center in Athens to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, from an undeveloped plot of land in Connecticut to the last jook joint in Mississippi. He directs the Performance Technology program at Texas A&M University and was part of the team that got its Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture established as a “landmark research area” at TAMU. http://morrismusic.org
Elisabeth Blair is a composer and vocalist currently based in Michigan. She received a BA in photography at Richmond American University in London in 2004, then studied classical voice for two years. After spending several years on the folk singer/songwriter circuit in Chicago, in 2013 she became the private composition student of composer Kevin Ure, and in 2015 obtained a Specialist Certificate in Music Composition for Film and TV through Berklee Online. In addition to composition she has been heavily involved in vocal improvisation, working with performance artists Carole McCurdy and Robert Metrick and performing in Chicago venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center and Links Hall. In 2015 she was an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, working with improviser Karl Berger. An active feminist, she is on the board of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) and is the founder and director of Listening to Ladies, an initiative that comprises a podcast, concert series, and online showcasing of works by composers who are women. She is currently working on a Master’s degree in Music Composition at Western Michigan University, studying under Lisa Renée Coons.