From the Mouths of Monkeys

Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

an exploration of personal belief systems

July-October, 2016


From the Mouths of Monkeys is an 8-channel audio installation commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston, MA, that combines music and spoken voices. The piece is an exploration of personal belief systems using the Chinese Zodiac - and the Year of the Monkey - as a jumping off point.

I recorded conversations with a dozen people (from 0 to 84 years old) who were born in the year of the monkey and asked them questions about their beliefs and the origins of those beliefs, whether they be zodiac-driven, religious, scientific, etc. The topics ranged from fate vs. self-determination to linearity vs. cycles to life after death and many more.

I then composed a four-part site-specific piece of music which acts as an environment within which the voices are arranged by various criteria, both semantic and aesthetic. The four parts are spaced along a leafy walking path in the Greenway, providing listeners with a journey of sorts as they pass by and through the piece. Every utterance listeners hear - in similarity and difference - comes from the mouth of a “monkey”.

Audio Sample

From the Mouths of Monkeys

Video Trailer

Documentation of the installation on-site on the Greenway

Complete On-Site Audio

This piece is comprised of four 2-channel tracks each of which plays from speakers mounted on different lamp posts. The above audio sample and the audio in the video documentation is a short excerpt of the over two hours of audio that comprise the full piece.

Each section focusses on "monkeys" of different ages as well as different topics of discussion, though not exclusively. The music remains similar across sections though there are significant melodic, timbral and tempo changes to distinguish each section.

Here are the complete audio tracks:

Section I - 0, 12, 24
Section II - 36
Section III - 48, 60
Section IV - 72, 84

Additional Information