Dirge is comprised of a single shot of an ascending escalator in disrepair at Chicago’s Fullerton Avenue CTA station. Although functioning normally, the escalator makes a tonally dynamic and haunting song as it runs without passengers. Zearfoss transcribed the footage’s field recording into musical notation and produced a new partially improvised choral soundtrack that mimics the original source. He has paired this recital, in three voices, with the original audio, creating a richly textured sonic landscape, partnered with the low-grade video. While the imagery suggests an infinite escalation, the soundtrack undercuts this mechanized optimism with a somber, wordless lyricism.
Dirge was an extension of the exhibition INTENTS & PURPOSES at Andrew Rafacz Gallery. Chicago, Illinois, January-March of 2020.
Click the left image to watch video documentation and click the right image to hear an isolated vocal track. A PDF of the musical notation is available here.