May 15, 2021
In the spring of 2020, scientists at MIT assigned each amino acid on the coronavirus protein spike a unique note in a musical scale, converting the entire protein into a score. They hoped to find sites where antibodies or drugs might be able to bind, simply by searching for specific musical sequences that correspond to these sites.

Indira Allegra, in collaboration with sound artist and composer Shanna Sordahl, presents a triptych of new performances at Lake Merritt, a large tidal lagoon in the center of Oakland designated as the United States’ first official wildlife refuge in 1870 and identified as a COVID-19 transmission hotspot for the city today. Using deconstructed cello sounds which play with tension, timbre, and noise, alongside vocals and the sound of the lake itself, Sordahl and Allegra perform new compositions that work with viral musical time, creating a public offering that explores what we can learn from the coronavirus structure rather than only fighting it.

Often described as organisms “at the edge of life,” viruses have been an important means of horizontal gene transfer, which increases genetic diversity. Corresponding Sites brings these considerations of transfer, diversity, and viral time to Lake Merritt to create poetry with the environment. The work invites us to slow down and engage with the grassy shores, the birds in their natural habitat, and the prayers, meditations, heartbreaks, and arguments spoken in many languages by thousands of daily visitors at the lake.

Please note that attendees will be invited to engage in the performance, and their participation may become part of the audio recordings and/or photographic documentation.

Indira Allegra’s work has been featured in exhibitions at Museum of Arts and Design, the Arts Incubator in Chicago, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, and the Museum of the African Diaspora among others. Their commissions include performances for SFMOMA, de Young Museum, City of Oakland, and SFJAZZ Poetry Festival.

This is the ninth event in our year-long season dedicated to thinking about our contemporary moment through the lens of Cecilia Vicuña's work.

Corresponding Sites: A Performance by Indira Allegra

Saturday, May 15
Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Oakland
7:30pm
Free