8/26 Milwaukee Fringe Festival & Present Music present The Devil’s Abacus by Jessica Fenlon @ Vogel Hall in the Marcus Center for the Arts

5:45PM SUNDAY, part of the Milwaukee Fringe Festival

Who is cast out? Who is confined? Is The Devil’s Abacus not actually the devil’s shoebox, where days are counted with razor blades and scratches marks, decompensating, trying anything to get out?

⚡️#TheDevilsAbacus ⚡️ #solitary ⚡️

Present Music Underground presents new work by local experimental music / performance artist Jessica Fenlon.

In recognition of the Nationwide Prison Strike from August 21 – September 9, we asked Jessica to focus on themes of confinement and resistance. Her response:

“In this work, I’m abstracting behaviors related to solitary confinement. Currently somewhere around 80,000 people in the American prison system are held in solitary confinement, as a method of controlling the behavior of all imprisoned persons.

As audience members, we want to think we have empathy, but we have deeply conditioned habits of turning away when we are directly confronted with the image of a stranger in pain. While working with ‘found media’, I omit documentary footage of persons held in solitary confinement. Instead, we will consider secondary evidence of their dehumanization, through the patterns of language applied to them, both inside that system and in the narrative ‘reporting’ on their situation.

Thus, we examine The Devil’s Abacus, a system of counting, holding, penalizing, and more counting . . .

There will be references to the traumatic self-harm this system encourages among the imprisoned.

I am employing a variety of cutup techniques to found media, and mixing it with created content using generative computer approaches, i.e. creating a systemic consideration of the evidence of the behaviors that re-inscribe the system of imprisonment.

It will be disorienting, slow, atmospheric, dark, and surprising. The media content? Projected light and sound sculpture, live instrumental performance, and audience participation.

I hope to see you there!”

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