Polyphonic Assembly



“If a rush of troubled stories is the best way to tell about contaminated diversity, then it's time to make that rush part of our knowledge practices. Perhaps, like war survivors themselves, we need to tell and tell until all our stories of death, and near-death and gratuitous life are standing with us to face the challenges of the present. It is in listening to that cacophony of troubled stories that we might encounter our best hopes for precarious survival.”

- Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Through the use of locally ideated installations, a new layer is added to the city, one which asks its citizens to shift attention toward what’s shared. This instrument of attention is a new type of historical marker, one which asks the public to be aware of the many voices and experiences which exist across the city alongside one another. Brightly colored objects act as beacons, catching the eye, and signaling a novel and dynamic oral history overlay.

The first are planted by a small group of citizens with aspirations to catalyze a self-perpetuating phenomena. Knowing that culture and the arts have a way of transforming the tacit into the explicit, this story-telling project prioritizes many voices over one, personal experiences over a singular narrative and positions history as wherever people are--not where a particular boundary is drawn or marker is placed. In this way Polyphonic Assembly invites the participation of many, and works to ritualize through the telling and sharing of stories, a multi-layered identity of place, one which can be leveraged to draw further connections and build future collaborations.
Faculty Advisor:
Malcolm McCullough