Following up with another collaboration with the University of Hip Hop’s alum comes Lavie Raven’s protege, Zebadiah Arrington. Zeb’s a bit of a graffiti wizard and also a bit of a rascal. Jim Duignan introduced him to Beth Wiedner and I when he was maybe fifteen when we were working on Musical Chairs. Even in his youth, Zeb was teaching graffiti workshops at the Hyde Park Art Center while we were running sound tests for Musical Chairs in early 2008. It always amused me to see him stressing good penmanship as one of the foundations of writing in spray paint. It’s a tricky medium!
Between the classes we held in tandem, and his graffiti lesson plan that was in our Musical Chairs curriculum workbook, he was a perfect fit for our nascent audio/art installation. Once again, the fine folks at Freedman Seating provided us with the prison bus seat canvas where Zeb painted a transliteration of the word “Two” in Arabic to fit the theme of the second set of Musical Chairs. We did over a dozen installs of Zeb’s set from 2008 onward, culminating at the last official showing at Nomadic Studio. It also made it into Artadia’s “5 Cities, 41 Artists” book of exceptional work as part of Stockyard Institute’s programming.
“Musical Chairs: Two”, in addition to Zeb’s fine paintwork, was my also brainchild for a community audio project. For those unfamiliar, the chairs were equipped with a pair of headphones to give both listeners a simultaneous audio experience. The headphones were fed by two iPods stocked with one-minute pieces of audio made by an international group of musicians, and set on shuffle with the rhythm tracks in one earphone, and the melody tracks in the other. There were over 100 pieces of music, and the chairs would go through approximately 2,560 permutations before repeating itself. We worked on that install for a long time, as it was our first major piece that still informs the way I create today.