A new work in 12 parts by The Holladay Brothers
The start of 2017 ushers in a new and uncertain chapter in the continuously evolving American experiment. The lessons of this last election, along with other seismic shifts that have occurred around the world in the last 12 months, will not be fully understood for years to come. As we prepare to test the strength of our democracy, an alarming truth has come into sharper focus, one that has always existed but that many of us have taken entirely for granted: that a free and open society is not a given, our democracy is always just a generation's length away from extinction. Columbia Diminuendo imagines the consequences of complacency at the outset of this new, undefined American chapter.
On the last Sunday of every month in 2017, a string quartet will convene in the shadow of the Capitol building to perform a new work by Hays and Ryan Holladay entitled Columbia Diminuendo. The composition is a re-imagining of the piece 'Hail, Columbia', first performed at the inauguration of George Washington in 1789 and which served as the unofficial national anthem for years after. For each of its 12 renditions, the performers will be given revised sheet music containing fewer and fewer notes. Throughout the course of the year, the song will become increasingly abstract as the clarity of the original melodies begin to recede, eventually beyond recognition and, finally, to silence.
The fundamentals of a democratic society are not inevitable and they are not irreversible. In order for democracy to survive and flourish, each new generation must resolve to protect and uphold the values that define it. Will ours join the chorus of millions that have come before, adding new colors and harmonies to this ongoing national collaboration or stand by as the music fades?
Columbia Diminuendo is a 12-part musical performance taking place in Washington DC on the last Sunday of every month.
Exact times and locations for this and future events will be announced here, through Transformer's page and via Instagram in the days leading up to each event.
Follow @holladaybrothers on Instagram for updates.
The Holladay Brothers
Brothers and collaborators Hays and Ryan Holladay are DC natives currently residing in Los Angeles. They create work often at the intersection of art and technology with an emphasis on music and sound. With projects ranging from multi-channel sound and video installations to mobile apps to interactive performances, their work spans a number of disciplines.