Dithyrambalina: Musical Architecture in New Orleans

by angeliska on July 27, 2011

So! I am very excited to announce that Colin and I will be collaborating on a piece that will be part of amazing project called Dithyrambalina:


The Brooklyn-based artist Swoon, who may know from her beautiful wheat-pasted cut-out street art (and the following flotillas: Miss Rockaway Armada, Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, Swimming Cities of Serenissima) is bringing a landmark, permanent sculpture to the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. This “house” also functions as a musical instrument. A growing group of local and national sound artists are creating interactive instruments that will be built into its walls and floorboards so that visitors can bring the house to life through their touch. How does a house sing? How does it keep a beat? Can a house be played like a trumpet? These are the kind of questions will be answering this fall when we launch The Music Box – A Shantytown Sound Laboratory, which is the first incarnation of what will evolve into Dithyrambalina. Our prototypes will gather together in a musical village of singing shanties!

Swoon’s “Ice Queen”, (currently debuting at MOCA, Los Angeles’ Art in the Streets exhibition).
Screen print on paper, coffee stained and hand painted, 2’x3′, signed in an edition of ten.
Happy to say that all three of these beautiful pieces went to each of our awesome Kickstarter backers who pledged $3000 or more!

We are very excited to be collaborating with Elizabeth Shannon, a hero of the New Orleans art world since the 1970′s on the shanty that will shelter our piece TINTINNABULATION STATION. This temporary installation will run from October thru early January and will be built on the future site of the Dithyrambalina in the New Orleans Bywater neighborhood. Over the course of the exhibition we will welcome visitors, hold children’s workshops, and present a three-part series of performances featuring local and national musicians who will orchestrate original works on the devices. Check out our fellow artists, also – we’re amongst great company of some dear friends and many future friends! I’d love it if you’d take a moment to go read more about this project – the whys and wherefores, the inspirations, and the spirit behind it. I’m so proud to be a part of this beautiful thing! The Dithrambalina Kickstarter Campaign ends Thursday Jul 28, 8:49am, and not only did meet our goal, but nearly doubled it! However – any and all additional pledges are appreciated and needed! Additional funding will go towards build costs for the Dithyrambalina house, developing more instrumentation, and paying our artists and musicians for all their hard work. We would all be so grateful for any donations, and for any help spreading the word about this project! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Swoon and Sound Collaborator Taylor Shepherd Discuss the Project

P.S. Have you been wondering why Swoon calls the musical house Dithyrambalina? The root of the name comes from the ancient Greek work dithyramb. A dithyramb was the chant of wild abandon sung by the devotees of Dionysus to call for their God.

Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest and wine, and he connotes ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. He is generally depicted as an enchantingly beautiful man attended by a debauched procession of animals, dancers, and music makers. Suffice it to say that Dionysus has never missed a Mardi Gras in New Orleans!
– from the Dithyrambalina blog, which is chockablock with good stuff – go see!


This is wonderful! I love the art of Swoon. She is incredibly ingenious and imaginative, and her art is full of humane spirit. Her art is always reminding us that people do matter, and that people are beautiful.

by Eric on July 27, 2011 at 5:12 am. Reply #

Hello Angeliska
My name is Sharon Engelstein. I am an artist in Houston (www.sharonengelstein.com)and I now have a gallery called Front (www.frontgallery.com).
Its in my house – a traditional Montrose bungalow near the Menil Collection.
I mentioned a project I am working on to my friend Dana (he said you might remember him as the dance hall guy) and he instantly thought I should talk to you.
I’ve been delighting in your blog.
I don’t want to bother you with details you might not be interested in.
Please send me note if you would like to hear more.
All the very best,
Sharon E

by Sharon on November 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm. Reply #

Dear Sharon,
I’d love to hear more! Please email me at angel (at) angeliska (dot) com – looking forward to hearing about your projects.
Thanks for getting in touch,

by Angeliska on November 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm. Reply #

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