Main Street Lament
2018 O. Henry Museum
Broken instruments, motors, electronics, O. Henry’s Main Street composition, field recordings of Interstate 35
A reimagining of O. Henry’s musical composition Main Street as a meditation on Interstate-35, Austin’s contemporary “main street.”
Drawing from O. Henry’s original, handwritten sheet music, on view in the museum, this work utilizes broken instruments reanimated by motors, field recordings of Austin traffic, and latent, resonant artifacts to transform the museum, an 1880’s era Queen Anne cottage, into a living, breathing musical instrument. Main Street Lament treats O. Henry’s original theme as a rickety dirge to examine I-35 as an important artery of transportation, as a treacherous motorway, and as a destructive force of redlining and segregation.