Deborah Aschheim and Lisa Mezzacappa: Earworms


Pasadena Museum of California Art

Earworms, a collaboration of artist Deborah Aschheim and composer Lisa Mezzacappa, is an exploration of language and memory through sound and space.  Named after the German word Ohrwurm, a fragment of song that becomes stuck in a person’s head and repeats endlessly, the project began as an experiment to cure aphasia by embedding words in memorable songs. Inspired by stories of stroke patients who had regained the ability to speak by remembering words buried in song lyrics from their past, Aschheim and Mezzacappa have created a series of installations based on a list of Aschheim’s favorite words.

Mezzacappa composed and recorded a song for each word; Aschheim built a sculpture for each song, and the artists collaborate on site-specific installations that re-imagine the sound and sculptural elements for each space they inhabit.  Each of the three sculptural instruments here performs a unique musical composition, based on a single word, to create a layered sonic and visual experience in the Project Room space.