The Precession: An 80 Foot Long Internet Art Performance Poem
Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery
The Jackman Goldwasser Catwalk Gallery
December 21, 2010 - March 20, 2011

[ video: Judd Morrissey's 80 ft facade (6 mins) | go to (single-browser version)] | video:facade with performances (10 minutes) | video: time-lapse performance at defibrillator gallery

Combining writing, text-mining and processing, the real-time positions of celestial objects and depictions of the laboring body, The Precession constructs a performance of visual-poetic movements across the 10 screens of Hyde Park Art Center's digital façade.

The concept was developed after the artists visited the Hoover Dam and saw the Oskar J.W. Hansen sculpture, The Winged Figures of the Republic and the celestial floor map that is a part of the public art work. In addition to the time-based digital projection, the exhibition includes a floor installation by Claire Ashley on the catwalk and a live performance presented three times during the month of March 2011.

Content for the projection streams from a custom built website that composes arrangements from local Twitter feeds, original and borrowed texts and blue-screened video. Similar to the movement of the stars, details of the projection vary slightly with each viewing. The exhibition is laced with a multitude of historical and contemporary allusions including the choreography of Busby Berkeley, The Grapes of Wrath, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and the geometric designs of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt.

The piece installation consists of 5 web browsers inter-communicating to synch dynamic content and create continuous 80ft. texts and images.

Interview with Arizona State University Museum
Mobilizing the Poli: and languages ofthe internet populace, by Laura Goldstein

Hyde Park Art Center, Groundbreaking Ceremony
Tuesday, December 21, 4:00pm-6:30pm

In recognition of the winter solstice, The Precession announces itself with a slow but celebratory performance inaugurating the exhibition. At precisely 4:22pm, when sunset begins, 10 men raise their glasses and, holding rim to mouth for the length of sunset to twilight (32 minutes), drink a protracted salute to the setting sun. At precisely twilight, the screens come down.

The Precession Performances:
Friday, March 4, 7:30pm; Saturday, March 5, 7:30pm; Sunday, March 6, 6:30pm

The artists will present a large-scale performance that extends and activates the 10-screen projected artwork, taking place within the main gallery and catwalk space. Elements include choreographed readings of texts being generated upon the digital facade, a group movement sequence that enacts images of American industry and labor, and responses to works by Sol LeWitt and Rebecca Horn. A chorus will sing a song, an incoming stream of Twitter texts, and excerpts from the source code of The Precession.

Vernal Tilt Closing:
Sunday, March 20, 3-5pm

In recognition of the Spring Equinox, 10 men perform a gesture to mark the closing of the exhibition ending with the rotation of a telescope towards a planetarium of objects in Gallery One's next exhibition, Conrad Freiburg's It is What It Isn't.

Funded in Part by a Grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Jeffery and Morrissey - in their formidable capacities as digital and performing artist/architects of language - propel us again, elegiacally, portentously, in an American shuttling from dam to blaze, monumental rise to recession, digital sublime to humble march, migration, hope to depression. From equinox to equinox, chorally constellated, scraped.
-- Jennifer Scappettone
Poet, critic, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago