LabSynthE is a creative laboratory in the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication for the investigation of synthetic and electronic poetry co-organized by Dr. Frank Dufour and xtine burrough.
Current projects include:
Lion’s Breath was recently installed at CentralTrak in Dallas.
Lion’s Breath is a participatory, generative installation that amplifies the complicit role humans play in the sixth extinction. This immersive project reflects the impact of humankind on the loss of species in a global environment with reduced biodiversity. We choreograph time to create an experience in which participants degrade an audio/visual representation of the sixth extinction by contributing a single breath. The soundscape translates biodiversity to sonic variety—the taxonomy of animals is used to design musical structures that, with each exhale, becomes sparser and more monotonous. It begins with a multilayered, wild orchestration of the lives of animals undergoing extinction. A part of the aural landscape is removed with each breath until the installation transforms to the hum of white noise.
At the start of the conference/exhibition, the projected image displays a blue sky with white, fluffy clouds. Exhaling into the installation animates the projected image, darkening the sky one breath at a time. In Lion’s Breath, breathing—an essential act of living, reduces the soundscape and the white clouds fade to a dull gray sky before it turns black. Mass extinction requires no extraordinary activity on behalf of the individual. We present a poetic representation of human impact in a changing global landscape.
The Radium Girls
The Radium Girls will be presented this fall as a sound installation and a face to face tour at HASTAC.
This space-based installation consists of an audio tour of exit signs that uses regulation and information about exit signage to tell the story of the Radium Girls. This feminist audio tour is a political, poetic installation that makes use of a required piece of architecture in the gallery space that often goes unnoticed (much like factory workers): the exit sign.
The struggle of the Radium Girls brought great attention to workers’ rights issues and was influential to the development of occupational laws. The Radically Advancing Exit Tour pays an homage to these women workers and their untold story, while encouraging the public to question workers’ issues of today.
The project is versatile in form and could be installed as a self-guided audio tour or a performance. The self-guided version of the tour uses new technologies to liberate unheard stories.
Death Fugue was one of LabSynthe’s first collaborative installations, created for Holocaust Rememberance Day and celebrated in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building at the invitation of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies. It requires the participation of the observer to reveal the text of Paul Celan’s poem and experience the subtext of the poem through meditative gestures.
Participant movements bring forth a recorded reading of Death Fugue by the poet himself, while recorded readings of the poem in various languages occur in the absence of participant movements. The installation echoes the counterpoint of the poem as a struggle between the past and future, while creating a ritual space for remembering and a corporeal way to engage with its poeticity. In an attempt to detach the reader from a textual interpretation of “Death Fugue,” this installation suggests a relationship to the poem that is both personal and communal. The structure and materials reference motifs such as ashes, the act of digging, and graves, combining both aerial and terrestrial elements.
Death Fugue: A Participatory Embodiment
On May 5, 2016, The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies hosted readings of poems of the Holocaust from 10-2pm in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology building at UT Dallas. During this event, visitors were encouraged to collaborate beneath the lobby stairway, interacting with and creating images of their bodies with the projected text of Paul Celan’s poem, Death Fugue. xtine burrough supplied the projected text, a work of kinetic typography, facilitated the collaborations, and recorded participants as they made the text their own. The result is a communal enactment of the poem as a text that requires many bodies for its construction and interpretation. Some participants used their bodies, others held the text on rose petals, and some projected the text onto the bodies of others (their children, friends, or colleagues). Interacting with the poem in fragments elicits the temporal space of memory. In the spirit of collaboration and memory-making, the artist edited the textual bodies together into a cohesive poem, Death Fugue: A Participatory Embodiment.