Althea Thauberger

(Canada, 1970)

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Althea Thauberger’s project for inSite_05 was a community choir initiative involving a onetime performance at Murphy Canyon, possibly the largest military housing complex in the world and home to more than 2,500 military families. Working in partnership with a group of military spouses residing predominantly in Murphy Canyon and experienced choir director Terry Russell, Thauberger strove to generate a unique community choir experience. During weekly rehearsals over the course of more than six months the participants worked with composer-in-residence Scott Wallingford to craft a series of their own compositions based on their experiences and musical tastes. The final performance took place at Jean Farb Middle School in Murphy Canyon on September 25, 2005. It was attended by a diverse and varied public, ranging from members of the military community to international curators and art enthusiasts. Viewers of the performance were shuttled into the community via bus and were provided with an onboard tour guide—Jennifer Martin from Military Outreach Ministries—who presented an introduction to the area and life in the military. Following the performance, the participants and the public gathered outside for refreshments.

Murphy Canyon Choir was in part a response to the challenges of military family life, where separation from relatives and friends, coping with dependent children without the support of a partner, and the navigation of unfamiliar environments can all contribute to a sense of isolation. Thauberger sought to provide the participating military spouses with a platform to generate new interpersonal relationships in the community, as well as a means of becoming actively involved in the construction of their own social representation and intervention on prevailing stereotypes that are often perpetuated through the media.

Venue: Jean Farb Middle School in Murphy Canyon, San Diego
Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Donna Conwell

Althea Thauberger, Murphy Canyon Choir, inSite_05 (documentation).

CLOSEUP Althea Thauberger, Murphy Canyon Choir, inSite_05.