A Father's Lullaby

A Father's Lullaby is a multi-platform community engaged project that highlights the role of men in raising children and their absence due to the racial disparities in the criminal justice system and its direct impact on children, women and lower income communities.  The project is centered on marginalized voices of absent fathers while inviting all men to participate by singing lullabies and sharing memories of childhood. A Father’s Lullaby is a Poetic Cyber Movement for Social Justice, where art and technology mobilizes a plethora of voices while utilizing public places and virtual spaces to ignite a more inclusive dialogue to effect social change.   Explored through the space of love and intimacy, the project is being developed with community members as creative collaborators.

Chapter I

The first chapter of the project was launched in 2017, when artist served as Boston Artist-in-Residence with mayor’s Office of Art and Culture and Boston Centers for Youth & Families, in collaboration with Blackstone Community Center in South End and in connection with my role as Research Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab.

The culmination of these experiences was shared with the public in a participatory media installation at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 2017, at the heart of the community where the work was produced.

A Father’s Lullaby, Chapter I, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, Boston, 2017

Multi-channel video projection, multi-channel sound, data visualized graph, TVs and headphones, recording station with online geolocated participatory website

Collaborators: Keith Washington (Blackstone Community Center), Halsey Burgen & chuck matzker (geolocated participatory website), Lizandro Segura & Homa Sarabi (Artist Assistant), Amanda de Oliveira & Anisa Hosseinnejad & Steve Onderick (media production programs teachers)

Chapter II

In the second chapter, 2018, the project expanded through collaboration with local artists and partnership with institutions, such as the Federal Probation Office, the newly formed Office of Returning Citizens and commissioned by the Boston Center for the Arts. The result was a site-responsive, public sound installation on Tremont St., Boston Center for the Arts public plaza, July - Oct 2018.

Installation experience: The installation consisted of two layers of sound played at different intervals. A series of compositions, created from lullabies contributed by fathers in the community, played from 9 am–9 pm each day. In addition, a set of three motion activated sound stations were located in the garden; audiences presence prompted multitudes of stories to unfold; audio documentaries created in conversation with fathers on federal probation.

A Father’s Lullaby, Chapter II, Boston Center for the Arts Public Plaza, 2018 Photo: Lizandro Segura

Participatory Public Sound Installation: Three multi-channel sound stations on treetops, 4 motion activated speakers with sound documentaries on garden level, online geolocated participatory website for sound recording and listening; Online geolocated participatory website activated through QR tags for off site sound recording and listening.

Collaborators: Krista Dragomer & Christian Gentry (sound composition) Xingyu Zou & Hisham Bedri & Paulina Velázquez Solís & Travis Johns (motion sensor audio playback), Halsey Burgen (geolocated participatory website) Lizandro Segura (Artist Assistant) Julia Xu, Michael Papetti (Interns) Omid Fallahazad & Ezat Hosseinnejad (production)

Boston Center for the Arts, 2018; Photo: Melissa Blackall

Boston Center for the Arts, 2018; Photo: Melissa Blackall

2min experience form one of the three stations at Boston Center for the Arts Plaza.

Chapter III

At 2018 HUBweek, We The Future conference, we prototyped an immersive participatory installation inside a shipping container; a self-contained model of a complex interactive media installation that could be accessible at any public site as a low budget traveling exhibit, alternative to a gallery or museum space.

Collaborators: Hisham Bedri (pressure sensor panels with audio playback and light activation), Christian Gentry (live sound composition), Halsey Burgen (geolocated participatory website), Farid Manshadi & Jason Bashaw & Omid Fallahazad & Nedallah Fahandej & Kevin Long (installation), Afshin Fahandezh & Lizandro Segura (documentation)