TOUR is a video installation by Millie Chen featuring an original soundtrack by composer Juliet Palmer. Created in collaboration with producer Jean Martin, the work is at Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery until May 18, 2014. A quiet witness to four sites of genocide (Rwanda, Cambodia, Wounded Knee and Treblinka), the camera travels slowly through vegetation covering the arguably “healed” sites, while four women’s voices form a counterpoint of lullaby and breath. TOUR challenges us with the question: How can we sustain the memory of that which has become invisible?
Researching songs from each site was done “off-location”, mining the collective digital memory. The four songs were chosen for their emotional resonance and their musical fit within the shared sonic space of the soundtrack. The music was created through a process of learning and forgetting, allowing each song to drift and alter. Recording the singers outdoors allowed us to capture subtle vocal shifts as each performer negotiated unfamiliar terrain — the landscape embellishing the song, breath catching and flowing. As each singer walked and sang, my mind drifted to the image of Millie walking over the ground of those four distant sites. Memory beneath our feet.
Vocalists: Maryem Tollar, Jani Lauzon, Christine Duncan, Andrea Kuzmich