The Swirling Mess Below the Sleeping Porch Soon Solidified into a Crest of Phantasmagoric Weight that Creaks Between the Doors, the Floors, and a Form that Could Never Be a House Again
The Swirling Mess Below the Sleeping Porch, as it is known in short, is a 2-story sculpture, installation, and micro opera written and built on the facade of the Gamble House in Pasadena, CA as commissioned by Machine Project for their occupation of the historical home. The ensemble of 7 vocalists that delivered the libretto of the work consisted of Patrick Michael Ballard, Micaela Tobin, Ryan Michael, Sara Sinclair Gomez, Christine Morse, Lucas Wrench, and the artist's mother, Janet Elise Ballard, as The Lady in White. In the original conception of the work, the 5-minute spectacle would be performed every hour on the hour of the exhibit during operating hours, serving to turn the entire home, through its punctual repetition, and its aesthetic pairing with the Arts and Crafts era home into a cuckoo clock-like appearance and occurrence. This required the performers to take over the basement of the house for preparation, creating unexpected "performances" within the house during tours.
The libretto of the 5-minute micro-opera, in its entireity
As the performance begins, spectators gather on the lawn in front of the Gamble House as the Lady in White approached The Rose Portal from the streets of Pasadena. The performers of the 5-person Crane's Head costume make a procession through the house, and up to The Lunar Gate in Gamble and Proctor's First Bar of Soap, on the back of The Rose Portal. As the Lady in White beckons to the portal, The Lunar Gate is opened from behind, and the Crane's Head emerges with the swirling hands of its performers, and multiple faces to surround its beak, the uvula of which delivers the libretto of the work.