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Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein: American Power

“I have tried to convey in these pictures…the beauty and terror of early-21st-century America, as it clings to past comforts and gropes for a more sensible future.” —Mitch Epstein

Cellist/composer Erik Friedlander and photographer Mitch Epstein embark on a musical, visual, and oral exploration of “our cultural relationship to energy.”

American Power is drawn from Epstein’s 5-year, 25-state travels making images that reveal how our behemoth power grid functions in our neighborhoods and landscape—West Virginia high school football teams practicing in the shadow of coal stacks; Texas wind turbines spinning next to old pumpjacks; an oil rig mangled by Hurricane Katrina.

Friedlander’s new compositions for solo cello unlock a dramatic dimension in the large-scale visual narrative, underpinning it with strong melodies and startling improvisations. The evocative piece examines power from all angles, not least of which is the power of looking. Directorial advisors: Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson (Big Dance Theater).

This project follows Friedlander’s successful and popular 2009 Walker-commissioned work Block Ice & Propane.

Note: General admission seating, 65 minutes.


To follow the project as it unfolds, visit American Power’s project page.