What is the High Wire Lab?

A music series that elevates the experience between the artist and the audience. It engages with audiences ready to be educated, enlightened, informed, and challenged. To walk the high wire is to reach for truth, to take bold steps towards what’s next.

Featured Performances

Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

March 15 & 16, 2019
8 p.m.
Power Center
University of Michigan

Photographer and visual artist Robert Mapplethorpe died in 1989 at the age of 42, and 30 years later we still cannot turn away from the compelling emotional complexity of his influential body of work. In this new piece, music, photography, the vocal prowess of Roomful of Teeth, and poetry by librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, Essex Hemphill, and Patti Smith come together in a theatrical context, exploring the impact that Mapplethorpe had on the life and career of composer and Cincinnati native Bryce Dessner (The National).

The explosive protests in Cincinnati and elsewhere surrounding an exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s work a few months after his death began a decades-long debate about public funding of the arts. For Dessner, the high-profile culture wars being fought in his own city rooted a lifelong kinship to Mapplethorpe’s pivotal body of work and its power to upend our beliefs about black/white, female/male, queer/straight, art/porn, sacred/profane, classical/contemporary, low art/high art, and political/personal.

This work may contain a frank discussion of sexuality and may include images depicting sexuality and nudity.
A world premiere co-production and co-commission of University Musical Society of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.