Origin | Oculus
Project Type: Public Art Installation
Collaborators & Partners: Sydney Boyd, Brandon Bell, Doug Perkins, Moody Center for the Arts, Humanities Research Center at Rice University
With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities
Services Provided: design, fabrication, assembly, install
Debut in 2019 for a performance of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit.
About the work: Hailed as “…the ultimate environmental piece” by The New York Times, Inuksuit is a concert-length (60-70’) work that brings musicians and community members together with the environment. The title refers to the Stonehenge-like markers used by the Inuit and other native peoples to orient themselves in Arctic spaces. Adams structured the rhythmic layers in the score to mimic these stone shapes, but undefined areas of the score also exist that allow individual interpretation of the music that reflects the sense of freedom conveyed in the work.
Scored for between nine and 99 percussionists playing drums, cymbals, gongs, glockenspiels, sirens, and a host of other instruments, the work creates a sonic landscape that surrounds the audience. Performers are widely dispersed and move throughout a large, open area. Audience members are encouraged to move freely around the performance area to discover their own individual listening points. The work is intended to expand our awareness of the never-ending music of the world in which we live, transforming seemingly vacant space into more fully experienced place.
About the composer: John Luther Adams (b. 1953) is one of America’s most-performed living composers. Having spent the majority of his adult life living in Alaska, his work is uniquely imbued with a heightened sense of eco-awareness. His orchestral work, Become Ocean, was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Writing in The New Yorker, critic Alex Ross described John Luther Adams as "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century."