Earworms, a collaboration of artist Deborah Aschheim and composer Lisa Mezzacappa, is an exploration of language and memory through sound and space. Named after the German word Ohrwurm, a fragment of song that becomes stuck in a person's head and repeats endlessly, the project began as an experiment to cure aphasia by embedding words in memorable songs. Inspired by stories of stroke patients who had regained the ability to speak by remembering words buried in song lyrics from their past, Aschheim and Mezzacappa have created a series of installations based on a list of Aschheim’s favorite words.
Mezzacappa composed and recorded a song for each word, in collaboration with vocalist/songwriters Michelle Amador and Katy Stephan; Aschheim built a sculpture for each song, and the artists collaborate on site-specific installations that re-imagine the sound and sculptural elements for each space they inhabit. Each sculptural instrument performs a unique musical composition, based on a single word, to create a layered sonic and visual experience.
Lisa Mezzacappa's music lives in the intersection of improvisation and
composition. Her projects as a double bassist, composer, curator and
collaborator include live performances, interactive and public works,
installation, digital works, commissions and intermedia events. Lisa
has been artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts
(2006), the Banff International Jazz Workshop (2000), and the Painted
Bride Arts Center (2000). She holds an MA in ethnomusicology from UC
Berkeley (2003) and a BA in music from the University of Virginia
(1997), and has been awarded grants from American Composers Forum, the
City of Oakland and Meet the Composer. She currently leads her own
ensembles Before & After and duo B., and performs in nearly a dozen
original jazz, pop and chamber ensembles in the San Francisco Bay
Area, where she lives.
Deborah Aschheim has exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena; Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles; Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA; Consolidated Works Art Space in Seattle; and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Since 1997, she has exhibited immersive sculptural environments that make connections between architecture, biology and public space throughout the United States and in Europe. She is the recipient of fellowships from City of Los Angeles, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts and the Pasadena Arts Commission.