CHAOS MANOR (Workshop Production)

Based on Sam Stephenson's book The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965

Directed by Christopher McElroen

Projection Designers: Alex Koch, Kate Freer, David Tennent
Sound Designer: Dominic Mekky
Musical Director: Levon Henry
Photographers: Jason Goodman and Kate Joyce

Created with Brain D. Coats, Jaymes Jorsling, Conrad Kluck, Lucy Owen, and Julia Watt, among many others

September 16 – 17, 2011 | The Invisible Dog | Brooklyn, NY

The workshop production of Chaos Manor  was a multimedia instillation that used the building at 51 Bergen Street in Brooklyn (The Invisible Dog Arts Center) as an instrument to play the story of iconic photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, and his particular American moment, by sampling the 40,000 photographs and the 4,500 hours of audio recordings he made at 821 Sixth Avenue between 1957 - 1964.

Layers of recorded and live sound were woven through twenty-two exterior windows, using the expanse of brick facade as a canvas to video map both live and archival imagery. The story began with the slow hoisting of a piano from the sidewalk up through an open window where a pianist waited to play it.  From there Chaos Manor commenced and accept the musicians and artists that perceived the space a creative refuge from a chaotic world.  As the event continued, Chaos Manor chased the arc of Smith’s own internal chaos of isolation and identity.

Chaos Manor will be further developed in 2012 with a premiere scheduled in Chicago for early 2013.