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.

Together with sound artist and composer Shanna Sordahl, Indira Allegra strips this track of its instrumentation and creates a visual score to build out three tracks composed of vocals, cello, and the sounds of Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

For this performance, Allegra bicycles around Lake Merritt, a large tidal lagoon in the center of Oakland designated the United States’ first official wildlife refuge in 1870. During each trip around the perimeter of the lake, one of their new compositions plays from a sound system attached to their bike, creating a public offering of music that harmonizes with the structure of coronavirus rather than only fighting it.

Oakland is a city struggling enormously with coronavirus cases due to the longstanding disenfranchisement of Black, Indigenous and people of color populations that make up the majority of the city. Creating poetry with the environment, this work encourages 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.

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, Oakland
9am / 5pm / 9pm

Meet at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater to follow on your bike, or position yourself along the Lake Merritt bike path to experience the performance as a pedestrian.