Whispering Bayou is an immersive multimedia installation constructed using moving images and a multichannel soundscape composed of the sounds, voices, and images of Houstonians and their city. The work draws particular resonance from the Brays Bayou watershed, which connects nearly three-quarters of a million inhabitants who exemplify this global city’s rich diversity in which over 100 languages are spoken. Whispering Bayou transforms these sonic and visual conversations about the city of Houston into a metaphorical, virtual bayou—an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of impressions that interacts with visitor movements in space. The project is a collaboration between Houstonbased filmmaker, interactive multimedia producer, and community activist Carroll Parrott Blue; French composer and multimedia artist JeanBaptiste Barrière; and New York–based composer and computer interactive artist George Lewis.
CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON
One of the things that I find to be fairly ubiquitous is that people need to converse and their voices need to be heard. GL
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4—5 Whispering Bayou has been made possible through a major grant from Danah Fayman. Additional support has been provided by The Dawn Project and the Southeast Houston Arts Initiative (with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the University of Houston). Support for the CAMH presentation is provided by the patrons, benefactors and donors to the Museum’s Friends of Steel Exhibitions: Director’s Circle Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen Fayez Sarofim Michael Zilkha Curator’s Circle Dillon Kyle Architecture, Inc. Marita and J. B. Fairbanks Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kempner III Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim Major Exhibition Circle A Fare Extraordinaire Bank of Texas Bergner and Johnson Design Jereann Chaney Elizabeth Howard Crowell Sara Paschall Dodd Jo and Jim Furr Barbara and Michael Gamson Brenda and William Goldberg Blakely and Trey Griggs George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Jackson and Company Louise D. Jamail Anne and David Kirkland KPMG, LLP Beverly and Howard Robinson Lauren Rottet Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister Leigh and Reggie Smith Yellow Cab Houston Mr. Wallace Wilson
Perspectives Exhibition Circle Bright Star Productions, Inc. Dillon Kyle Architecture, Inc. Ruth Dreessen and Thomas Van Laan Greg Fourticq Heidi and David Gerger Melissa and Albert J. Grobmyer IV Kerry Inman and Denby Auble King & Spalding L.L.P. Marley Lott Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc.
Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Jim Hodges, Joan Jonas, Jennie C. Jones, Maya Lin, Julian Lorber, Robert Mangold, Melissa Miller, Marilyn Minter, Angel Otero, McKay Otto, Enoc Perez, Rob Pruitt, Matthew Ritchie, Dario Robleto, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Shinique Smith, John Sparagana, Al Souza, James Surls, Sam Taylor-Johnson, William Wegman, and Brenna Youngblood.
The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Jereann Chaney, Marita and J. B. Fairbanks, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Leticia Loya, Fayez Sarofim, Robin and Andrew Schirrmeister, and David and MarionYoung. The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members, and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., and artMRKT Productions.
Official Airline of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Editor Betsy Stepina Zinn Design Amanda Thomas Printing Specialty Bindery & Print, Houston, Texas Photography All works courtesy the artists Installation Photography Paul Hester ISBN: 1-933619-55-4 © 2015 Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 5216 Montrose Boulevard Houston, Texas 77006 T 713 284 8250 | F 713 284 8275 CAMH .org
CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support, including Michael Bise, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Julia Dault, Keltie Ferris, Mark Flood, Barnaby Furnas,
CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON
Carroll Parrott Blue Jean-Baptiste BarriĂ¨re George Lewis
CAMH Senior Curator
Valerie Cassel Oliver and the artists
WHISPERING BAYOU is the culmination of nearly a year of intensive research, planning, and technological innovation. What began as an observation and a question soon grew to become the immersive multimedia installation that viewers, and now readers of this accompanying catalogue, can experience. Prior to the installation, I sat down with the artists behind the project—Houston-based filmmaker, interactive multimedia producer, and community activist Carroll Parrott Blue; French composer and multimedia artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière; and New York–based composer and computer interactive artist George Lewis—to discuss how the project would take shape and, ultimately, what they hoped would emerge in the wake of their endeavors. The following is an edited transcript of our discussion, which took place on April 3, 2015, in the administrative offices of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. —Valerie Cassel Oliver, CAMH Senior Curator
talk about Whispering Bayou. What was the genesis of the project? VALERIE CASSEL OLIVER —Let’s
CARROLL PARROTT BLUE —My 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town award led to my introduction to Southeast Houston’s Park at Palm Center. One of my assignments was to initiate art in this park. I really wanted to bring something special to the park and the first person I thought of was George because I’d been thinking about sound and how sound can enlighten public spaces. I also thought it would be great for us to work together. Fortunately, we had a donor by the name of Danah Fayman. She knew both of us from San Diego and provided the initial funding. It took about a year to determine the scope of the project and decide that it needed to be indoors because it would have been too expensive to take it outside. Once we started working with CAMH, it took about three months to get everything positioned to move the project forward as an installation. VCO —It’s
a wonderful project. One of the things that resonates with me in particular is its ability to capture the essence of Houston and the people who live here. Certainly, one of the things that interests me greatly is the idea of reflecting the rich diversity of this city. Carroll, you had some very interesting statistics about Houston and the historical role of its waterways and bayous, specifically Brays Bayou. Can you talk about the inspiration behind framing Brays Bayou and what you are hoping to do with this project? CPB —Well, first of all, Houston is the energy capital of the world. Among its other energy industry–related facts, Houston has the largest petrochemical manufacturing area in the world. One in every four Houstonians is an immigrant, and over 100 languages are spoken here. So, the impetus is rooted in the question, how does this city make the adjustment of moving from being an
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outpost for energy into a new realization that the world has come here? How does Houston manage itself in the 21st century with the world’s population as its base? The second thing is that Houston has 10 major bayous and 2,500 rivulets. Basically, Houston is a swamp and that is another piece that interests me. I began to look at Brays Bayou, which has a watershed area of 127 square miles and a population of over 722,000 people, many of whom are immigrants. That was the first idea that bubbled up—how do you talk about that and how do you capture the sound of what that is? VCO —That’s
a good place to segue to George and JeanBaptiste. This notion of sound—how does one capture the essence of this city, create its profile, particularly if we are looking at Houston in a state of transformation, from an outpost to a very cosmopolitan place? I think because of the sheer expanse of land and car culture, we’re not always aware of the diversity that exists within our own backyards. What do you hope to do in terms of reflecting this diversity with sound? What are the “mechanics” involved in taking raw sound and converting it into an immersive environment? GEORGE LEWIS —First of all, what Carroll said about those 100 languages,
that is crucial to the development of the Houston of the future and indeed of the world. Whatever future a city develops is going to be based on dialogue and even polylogue discussions and conversations. The second image that resonates is the swamp, which is a very complex ecosystem. The bayou has got all kinds of tracks, all kinds of life. That kind of fecund environment underlies this project. I’m not from Houston, but one of the things that I find to be fairly ubiquitous is that people need to converse and their voices need to be heard. The original provenance of this project, in public Houston has 10 major bayous and art, involved performance, 2,500 rivulets. Basically, Houston movement by visitors. Peois a swamp and that is another piece ple come to the space and that interests me. I began to look at participate. They engage with the environment and Brays Bayou, which has a watershed the environment speaks back area of 127 square miles and a poputo them. It moves in waves. lation of over 722,000 people, many It makes its own motion, its CPB own sound. of whom are immigrants.
The sound comes from several sources, but the most prominent sounds are voices and songs. Our team is out in the community interviewing people. They don’t have to be artists; we want regular people from different backgrounds, ages, and genders to talk about Houston and the amount of time they’ve lived here. We want a diverse, multigenerational, interactive conversation. We’re also asking people to sing for us. We’d like them to sing songs that reflect how they grew up. We ask them about where they were born and their religious backgrounds. We ask them where they went to school, their neighborhoods. We take all that information and recombine it inside the computer. What the computer comes up with is a gentle remix/mash-up. In the installation, visitors hear individual sounds. It is contemplative, even meditative. If people just want to sit and listen, things happen during that process. If people want to move, things happen as well. That’s where the sound comes from, but of course we are also making videos of people in these interviews. This is where Jean-Baptiste, whom I’ve known for 30 years, comes in. We share some aspects of practice— composition, interactive installation, and our connection with computers. We both worked at IRCAM [Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique] in Paris. He was there a lot longer than me, and he created new kinds of software that reconceptualize voice and the structure of music. As an interactive sound and video artist, he is the ideal person to be associated with something like this. JEAN-BAPTISTE BARRIÈRE —Our aim is to generate an emotional experi-
ence for Houstonians, for people to get a different look at their own town. That’s where the interactivity can be entrusted, but that’s not the sole purpose. The project is not interactive simply to be interactive. It’s to bring you inside this emotional experience in ways that are not intrusive or aggressive or placid, even. This is not a documentary, nor is it something that is trying to defend an ideology about what interactivity should be. It’s many different things and more than anything it’s what people bring into it through personal experience. The team has made efforts to gather materials, collecting voices, visions…souvenirs, and, again, emotions of people. When visitors enter the installation, they write their own emotion into the space through movement, essentially creating their own imprint on what they see and hear.
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They create their own vision and their own adventure by engaging with the project. The installation is not a film that simply plays. It’s something that has a life of its own and that constantly evolves, modified by the very interaction of the people who visit it. If people come more than once, they have different experiences each time. I hope that it helps people think differently about their hometown and what’s happening here. VCO —Let’s
talk about the viewer’s experience. As you’ve both mentioned, there is sound and moving imagery— three projections to be exact. Can you describe how the viewer’s body affects the content, both the video and sound elements of the space? JBB —The
technology we use is meant to be totally transparent. We don’t want people to manipulate devices or do anything technical. The most obvious thing that impacts the content is just naturally moving through the space. From the moment people enter, the system lets them know they are there by showing them their own shadow.Through their shadows, viewers start to see fragments of the collected images and hear the sound composition. They can then begin to understand that this activity is all corresponding to their movement and behavior in space. Hopefully, this exchange elicits a range of emotions. VCO —I love the idea that there are no narratives, but rather a series
of fragmented stories…like a multifaceted mirror reflecting a range of objects and people. I think that it’s very appropriate for this city. With the huge influx of people arriving here, there has been not only a tremendous amount of erasure but also a rebuilding. The idea that over 100 languages are spoken here is simply amazing. As people move here and assimilate, however, there are things that are lost. There are the histories of people who have lived or continue to live along the bayous, as well as their communities. There’s a poetic connective tissue that runs through how each of you work. Carroll, your project The Dawn at My Back, published a little over a decade ago, really resonates here because it is so beautifully constructed with image and sound—the sound of your voice. The multimedia elements talk about recovering histories in the face of erasure. Is this also a theme of Whispering Bayou, erasure and recovery? GL — Before we get to that, I want to respond to what you said about narra-
tive. It’s very important to realize that it doesn’t take much to get narratives
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started. It just takes a word to the wise or the not so wise.You hear a certain word or name, like Brays Bayou, and that name means something different to each of us. People are going to construct narratives. We don’t have to do it for them. We don’t have to direct or be didactic or provide teachable moments. People will teach themselves through the interaction with visuals and sound. The sound is in eight channels so there’s a lot of it moving around. We might be able to have sounds follow people, lead people, or make suggestions. It’s as Jean-Baptiste described, a very rich space for sonic and visual inspiration, not only for memory and history but also for a sense of recombination, reconstruction, and mutation. All these concepts I find very important to articulating a future. I like the idea of recovery, but once you recover you’ve got to get back to work.You’ve got to have the tools or the materials or the environment with which you can structure experience and construct yourself. The people who come to the installation will discover a bit of themselves. They may even find bits of themselves that they didn’t know existed before they came. Hopefully, people will be able to come out of it changed in some way, so that they come back again. The other thing about a piece like this is that it’s social. The more people come to the installation, the better it gets because people start to see themselves and see others. It’s not you versus the machine or you versus the installation, it’s you in the midst of a social world that is being articulated through a combination of people and digital forms and digital personalities, if you will. That’s what creates a lot of the ambiance that makes it work. VCO —I
like what you’re saying because I think people do come to places like Houston to reinvent themselves. Here they find that the possibilities to reformulate themselves are endless. One can choose simply to be transformed. There is also the possibility that even established communities can continue to evolve. GL —There
are two, at least in my mind, very important sources for this project that I have thought about constantly in constructing certain kinds of ideas around sound. The first one is Carroll’s work that Valerie mentioned, The Dawn at My Back. That interactive book and computer piece is extremely important. And I imagine that certain kinds of images from that piece will turn up here because it is a work about this city and this region. It’s a piece about memory. It’s a piece about history, identity.
The other source is Jean-Baptiste’s piece The Garden of Dreams. I think a lot of what happens in Whispering Bayou is strongly informed by that work and that is very exciting to me.
What we are trying to do now with this project is to recreate an energy of sound and visuals that is specific to the city of Houston.CPB
Garden of Dreams is a recent piece. It is interactive, which includes the ability to collect dreams from people all over the world.We organized the website and made it available to people living in various countries, speaking a variety of languages. People were asked to recall their dreams, which were then collected in a database and made accessible inside of an interactive installation. The project was simultaneously presented in multiple locations, with installations at Columbia University’s Maison Française in New York and at the Musée Gadagne in Lyon, France. It is all about the process of stimulating people’s imaginations. In the installations, you walked around these abstract universes and encountered the dreams of people in many different languages. Certainly, there were moments that you didn’t understand, but you could float through that language, guided by a world of colors and forms that would, in an abstract way, accompany these recalled dreams. And, while we didn’t try to illustrate the dreams, we wanted to create a generative environment that the imagination could build from abstract images and sound. That’s what The Garden of Dreams shares with Whispering Bayou—the ability to stimulate the imagination of people about their own experiences, histories, and cultural backgrounds to make them contemplate what the city means to them. JBB —The
how has your previous work and experience informed the development of Whispering Bayou? CPB —A
lot of thoughts have bubbled up while listening to George and Jean-Baptiste. I entered this project through the lens of film—through the cinematic experience. I was very fortunate early on as a filmmaker. A few years after I got out of film school, I met a sound designer in Hollywood by the name of Walter Murch. He has this notion that sound is the only sense that goes directly into the subconscious with no barriers. Our brains process all the other senses longer, so someone might look at a painting and think, “Was that red, or was that yellow?” But
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sound is different—it cuts straight through from the ears to the subconscious. Some of the best filmmakers understand this role of sound and have used it to affect the audience’s emotions. Another point of inspiration occurred when I worked at PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] on a NOVA science series called Mystery of the Senses. Over a 22-month period, we looked at sound as material and hearing as an action. I was fortunate that our whole team went around the world and talked to experts in various scientific communities who were studying the senses. I began to understand that while the brain processes these things individually, at the same time there’s a commonality in perceptions since our species says that this is green and this is red. This is loud. This is soft. This tastes sweet. This tastes bitter. There’s a relationship between our individual perceptions, what we’ve been taught to perceive as socially agreed upon concepts, and how the brain actually operates to process the senses. One of the reasons I’m excited about working with George and Jean-Baptiste is that they’re looking at the essence of the unfiltered inside the brain, this notion of memory and what it can do to help people generate their own narratives based on the data that they are sensing. I think it is a very exciting way to look at things. I’m in the process of reading A Power Stronger Than Itself, George’s book about the AACM [Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians] and understanding how this information that the three of us are bringing to the table comes from our experience. Personally, I think that people need to share their own experiences with one another. I see this installation as an attempt to get this dialogue going in some way. What we are trying to do now with this project is to recreate an energy of sound and visuals that is specific to the city of Houston. Hopefully, one of the things that will come out of this is that people experiencing the project through their own shadows will begin to hunger for a way to connect with one another. VCO —It’s
this thing where we are totally driven by car culture and oftentimes when you look in vehicles you see only one person. There are not the overt spaces of interaction you might find in a pedestrianoriented city like New York. In Houston, you have to consciously seek out exchange. More often than not, we are interfacing with likeminded people or communities. There are wonderful park systems
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here, but that accidental interaction is not as plentiful. It’s just now starting to develop. I love it when you talk about this ability to hear other people, to see other people—to truly see them and not glance and move forward. I think this project really brings that to the fore. Hopefully, the project will inspire the hunger to really be in an immersive environment. I don’t think people truly realize the sheer diversity that exists in this city.
People are able to continuously access the site and create video…It’s completely anonymous.That’s a part of the collection process, which allows potentially everyone to be a part of the project on their own time schedule. And it also allows for certain kinds of encounters and understandings that might not come out of face-to-face interviews.GL
do want to mention one thing in Houston that gets at what you’re saying. The city has created the Bayou Greenways 2020, an initiative to connect Houston’s 10 major bayous for pedestrians and cyclists. The city is looking at how we can unite our bayous and better enjoy green space in Houston.The Bayou Greenways are going to be set up so that you can walk or bike 150 miles without any traffic whatsoever. This Saturday [April 4, 2015] marks the city’s first Bayou Greenway Day, which will celebrate the eastern end of Brays Bayou and the new pathways that connect five different parks already built along this route. is why Whispering Bayou is such a timely and smart project for Houston. Can we talk about the process of gathering the content and the team, Carroll, you have assembled on the ground here? VCO —This
team consists of artists and consultants (Thomas Goepfer, Damon Holzborn, Jason Moran), as well as local advisors with diverse backgrounds and strong Houston roots (Katy Atkiss, Krist Bender, Jamal Cyrus, David Dove, Johnny Hanson, Rachel Kagan, Rosalinda Mendez, Shelley Scott Wharton, Jason Woods). Each member is an artist in his or her own right who brings a certain amount of technical expertise to the process. George has worked with the team to shape how we collect material. Recently I heard him say to the group, “Okay, we’ve got over 100 languages. Who do you know that speaks a
language? And, when you’re interviewing a person who speaks something like Tagalog, ask them who they know.” It’s been a way to broaden participation and create a web-like action with people who might have been a bit unsure about how to go out and find these languages. In the end, we may not get over 100, but we want to get as close as possible. I’m hoping that the project continues beyond the installation and that the CAMH website will continue to collect online submissions as a way to keep this alive, like The Garden of Dreams. GL —That’s
interesting because we didn’t actually talk about another idea from The Garden of Dreams that we have implemented—the website—which is in addition to the live team of collectors. People are able to continuously access the site and create video- and/or audio-recorded submissions: key phrases, words, and narratives. It’s completely anonymous. That’s a part of the collection process, which allows potentially everyone to be a part of the project on their own time schedule. And it also allows for certain kinds of encounters and understandings that might not come out of face-to-face interviews. It’s another important way of bringing the community not only into the work but also into the museum. It’s amazing to see the amount of energy and interaction at CAMH. Even early in the morning, it’s a very convivial space and it seems to really draw upon what Nicolas Bourriaud first articulated in the 1990s with relational aesthetics. For me, this project draws upon that theory of interaction, thinking about relational spaces that produce conviviality. It seems to be what I’ve been doing with technological art for a pretty long time now, maybe 30 years, producing these kinds of dialogues and spaces. I think it’s something that dovetails very well with the mission of CAMH. VCO —Yes,
one of the things Carroll and I were talking about was the fact that each of you brings something to the table. Each of you has particular talents that are being woven together. Whether you’re talking about content, incorporating sound, or creating moving imagery, there is some overlap. It is almost as if each one you is doing “your thing” and that eventually, the individual tributaries merge or come into alignment. What is necessary to make this all happen, or align, if you will? JBB —The
beauty of alignment is that this is in motion. At some point, it’s not aligned and then it’s getting aligned and then it’s again
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flowing and becoming something else. There is also a richness to nonalignment. Tension is the most important moment. In tension, there is suspension and gratification. Little by little the momentum builds and there is the stage of getting out of sync. The richness of accidents and the emergence of meaning in these accidents are important. They can be the very element of surprise that will stimulate the imagination of the visitor, making them aware of things that were never imagined. VCO —Oftentimes
you’ve described this tension as not only part of the process but also part of the experience and that the slippage exists to open the door for so much more to occur. GL — People come from different perspectives and so alignment and
nonalignment are both going to be part of the process, but what’s interesting is that once the work is created, visitors also collaborate with the work to produce meaning. The installation is a collaborative space for visitors, even if they’re interacting with nonhuman elements such as a computer. Many people don’t realize how much in their everyday lives they routinely interact with machines to do very mundane things, especially in this part of the world. It is only in specific moments, when we’re faced with the possibility of “Wow, this machine seems to know me or it’s saying something that I understand,” that we are aware. That’s odd, isn’t it? Trust is very important in the process of collaboration not only for us but also for the audience. In The Garden of Dreams, JeanBaptiste had the wonderful idea of creating an avatar from the visitor’s own shadow to invite a sense of trust when entering the space. It is a way of allowing visitors to be invited, to be convivial, to have a personal touch, so people aren’t just viewing something and stimWe don’t expect these perspectives ulating things with no to conflict, but we don’t necessarily investment so to speak. expect them to align either.That’s Damon Holzborn, our technical consultant and going to be the moment when people computer programmer can find a way to speak for themselves (and an interactive artbeyond the way they were speaking ist in his own right), has for themselves through this project.You devised a very interesting way for people to utilize always have to have at least one wild their smart phones in the GL
card in a piece like this.
space to access imagery and sound. It’s like using a smart phone as a musical instrument. People can create gestures that result in music, and they can also access the logos and other visuals that are connected with the bayou. There are many different perspectives, some more personal, others more general. We don’t expect these perspectives to conflict, but we don’t necessarily expect them to align either. That’s going to be the moment when people can find a way to speak for themselves beyond the way they were speaking for themselves through this project.You always have to have at least one wild card in a piece like this. That’s how I look at it. A wild card is not a bad thing. CPB —I have one last story that really got me started on this. I was in Orlando, Florida, and I was walking down the street and this family caught my attention. It was a husband, wife, and three young children. They were walking along and all of a sudden I saw this brightness in their eyes. I turned to look at where they were going and it was to the public library. There was this sculpture—an interactive, multidimensional musical instrument by Christopher Janney—just outside the building. When they touched it, sounds came out. The whole family started making music. I’m looking at that, I’m saying, wait a minute, here is a piece of public art that’s free and it’s a way for families to enjoy themselves. That is what propelled me to begin to look at the possibilities of Whispering Bayou. I wondered, how can experimental sound work here in Houston? That question led me to George and then to Jean-Baptiste. VCO —That’s
a beautiful way to end this too. Thank you for sharing the “aha moment” and thank you for bringing these two incredible people to Houston and, of course, for your own insight and generosity.
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PLATES Carroll Parrott Blue Jean-Baptiste BarriĂ¨re George Lewis Whispering Bayou, 2015 Projected digital sound and image files, sensors Courtesy the artists Installation photography courtesy Paul Hester
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Artist Biographies CARROLL PARROTT BLUE is an award-
JEAN-BAPTISTE BARRIÈRE is a French
GEORGE LEWIS is the Edwin H.
winning filmmaker, author, and interactive multimedia producer. She is a former research professor at the University of Houston and the executive director of the Dawn Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Blue uses community-based media training, production, and distribution techniques for citizen engagement in neighborhood development. She has also worked extensively in television. As an author, Blue blends text, stills, graphics, and moving images in traditional and new-media formats. Her interactive multimedia project, The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (University of Texas Press, 2003), is a combination book, DVD, and website. It was selected by the American Library Association as one of the 30 best Association of American University Press publications (2004), and it won a Sundance Online Film Festival Jury Award (2004). Other multimedia works include the website bayouvoices.org and a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town award. Blue is professor emerita at San Diego State University and has also taught at the University of Central Florida.
composer who has also studied the history of art, philosophy, and mathematical logic. Parallel to his work as a composer, he served as a researcher at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, developing computer programs to synthesize vocal singing. From 1984 to 1997, Barrière was director of IRCAM’s Department of Musical Research. He later developed his own multimedia studio, Image Auditive, and has created numerous projects and collaborations. Recently, Barrière served as a visiting professor at Columbia University and as composer in residence at Columbia’s Computer Music Center. His musical and visual interactive installation The Garden of Dreams was simultaneously presented at the Musée Gadagne in Lyon, France (as part of the Biennale Musiques en Scène) and at Columbia’s Maison Française (2013–14). Barrière is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Grand Prix Multimédia Charles Cros for Prisma: The Musical Universe of Kaija Saariaho (2000); the Ars Electronica Interactive Art Prize for his soundtrack to Peter Greenaway’s Flying Over Water (1998); and the Prix de la Musique Numérique of the Concours International de Musique Electro-acoustique of Bourges for Chréode (1983).
Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lewis has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Lewis has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and his compositions have been documented on more than 140 recordings and performed by BBC Scot tish Sy mphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart,International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, among others. His widely acclaimed book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008), received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s first Music in American Culture Award.
The team of artists and consultants contributing to this installation includes Thomas Goepfer, Damon Holzborn, and Jason Moran, as well as the local advisors Katy Atkiss, Krist Bender, Jamal Cyrus, David Dove, Johnny Hanson, Rachel Kagan, Rosalinda Mendez, Shelley Scott Wharton, and Jason Woods.
Our aim is to generate an emotional experience for Houstonians, for people to get a different look at their own town.That’s where the interactivity can be entrusted, but that’s not the sole purpose.JBB
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