Falling Sideways

- An audio exquisite corpse -

What happens when a planet decides to leave its orbit and fall forever sideways? In our imaginary solar system, the remaining planets weave an auditory lasso to bring it back into their reins. In exquisite corpse formation, where each planet’s voice connects to that of the next, their invocations form a spoken chain, a spell to catch their errant sibling. But we like this vagabond planet, and as we journey through the entangling narratives, we help guide it safely on its way.

Seafoam Palace presents Falling Sideways, a series of immersive, site-specific experiences designed to intersect with the planet’s path – each a solitary walk through a resonating chamber that transports us to the spheres of interplanetary intrigue and cosmic expanse, a parallax pursuit and reverie on motion, a poetic dedication to forever falling sideways.

Light effects in Falling Sideways tunnel event

Tunnel Experiment

October 2020
Abandoned train tunnel, Ohio

In anticipation of the planet’s many possible appearances around the Earth, we staged a test run at a site most likely to align with it on October 25, 2020, namely a long-abandoned train tunnel in Ohio.

As the planet moved along its sideways course, the other planets’ auditory lasso – which needs a resonating chamber to be effective – tried to intercept it in exactly this location. To help the planet traverse this dangerous part of its voyage, we constructed an effigy that it could follow to help it stay on track.

The effigy was strung on a line through the length of the tunnel and could be moved by a leash. We didn’t know exactly when the planet would travel through the lasso and thus needed each person to individually guide the effigy, in the hope that one of us would coincide with the arrival and lead it safely through the passage.

In 10- to 12-minute intervals (the length of the audio segment), each person entered the tunnel, picking up the leash and starting the walk. The tunnel was faintly illuminated by static and flickering space debris; every guide also carried a small light to walk safely to the end. The voyage proceeded along invisible speakers on the tunnel walls, timed to let the guide stop and listen to each story before moving to the next. At the end of the passage, the guide turned around and brought the effigy back to the starting point for the next person.

The audio segments tend to seem random and unrelated, but a careful listening will reveal the dangerous underlying formula, powerful enough to transport an entire planet back through space. In all instances, the guides must be careful not to get entrapped in the lasso themselves.

In the test run, everyone performed marvelously. Some of us very distinctly felt the presence of the planet, quietly accompanying us in the brief moment in which our paths aligned.


Audio Exquisite Corpse:

Photos of the Setup

Credits

Christos Pathiakis – Audio Design | Tom Kirsch – Tech Production | Kim Couchot – Lighting Design | Tracy Gilman – Sculpture | Christopher Beauchamp, John Law – Rigging | Bryan Parcival, Eric Singer, Joshu DeLeon – Parallax Conjectures | Julia Solis – Concept/Direction

Exquisite corpse segments, in order of appearance:

John Law | Mii Gunn | Christopher Beauchamp | Shel Kimen | Joe Ford | Charlotte Snible | Phat Man Dee | Joshu DeLeon