Death Fugue: An Uncovering requires the participation of the observer to reveal the text and experience the subtext of Paul Celan’s 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: An Uncovering is presented as a poem etched onto a 4 by 4 foot sheet of raw steel that acts as a tabletop sandbox. Included in the box are 100 pounds of black and white sand. A webcam mounted above the sandbox records participant movements. The sheet of steel is placed on four speakers, with two playing an original music composition created for the installation. One hyper-directional speaker hovers above the installation and plays audio recordings of Death Fugue in 10 languages—Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.
Artists: LabSynthe (Professor Dufour, Associate Professor burrough, Ariel Comstock, Francis Eyth, Nathan Grande, Clayton Harper, Caleb Shafer, Yvan Tina)