Scoring the Streets of New Orleans

On New Year’s Eve 2004 I recorded while walking through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street. The recording captured street music, music from bars and restaurants, and the boisterous crowds. The evening was welcoming in a year no one could have anticipated; in August 2005 Hurricane Katrina had a devastating impact on city of New Orleans, the surrounding region and those who lived there. It was a tragedy for the country as a whole.

For the exhibition Ethnographic Terminalia New Orleans I revisited the 2004 recording, turning it into digital data (midi) and then feeding the analog recording back through it. The result is a composition of disparate audio fragments and unaligned time.

Scoring the Streets of New Orleans, 2010

Visual score of digital data, 2010

Fragments of song float from street corners and weave throughout
the open-air bars and restaurants that line Bourbon Street. For the
passerby, pieces of numerous songs are threaded into one melody.
Time signature is determined by the walker’s gate, notes by the chance
encounters with the sound events of the place, points on a map. 

Ethnographic Terminalia New Orleans

DuMois Gallery, New Orleans
November 11 – December 3, 2010

About Ethnographic Terminalia:

Crossing and erasing the boundaries between art and anthropology, the installations organized by the Ethnographic Terminalia curatorial collective evoke both the social instability and the sense of possibility embodied in the present historical moment. Constructing a bricolage of aesthetic and scientific viewpoints while instigating public art interventionsgrounded in critical social inquiry, this wide-ranging group of artists, anthropologists, and curators is creatinga series of mobile, transnational multimedia environments which are equally global and local, virtual, and site-specific.

Thomas Ross Miller, Ethnographic Termini: Of Moments and Metaphors, Visual Anthropology Review, 2011.