Zeke Leonard and Katherine McGerr’s “Rust Echoes” is a gallery installation and performance inspired by the sonic landscape of the New York Central Railroad. The installation will be on view March 20-April 6, with an opening reception on Thursday, March 23, from 6-8 p.m. Performances will be held on March 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m.
For 100 years, the New York Central Railroad moved goods and people throughout the Northeast and Midwest; its connectivity helped to forge the economic and social framework of Central New York. The installation consists of five interactive sculptures made of the materials and forms that were common to the railroad. Steel and wood are given a voice, and railroad tools and hardware are used as musical instruments.
This installation is part of an ongoing project, “Salt City Found-Object Instrument Works,” an exploration by Leonard into resource usage and community building created through the making, distribution and playing of musical instruments.
The performance, devised by McGerr and featuring five students from SU:VPA’s Department of Drama, presents poems and stories about the railroad in dialogue with the sonic sculptures in the installation.
Leonard is an assistant professor in VPA’s School of Design, a member of the environmental and interior design faculty, and coordinator of the school’s first-year experience. His research involves the role of social responsibility and environmental stewardship in contextually relevant design and fabrication practices. Leonard regularly partners with community groups and organizations to find ways to put local resources to better use.
McGerr is an assistant professor in VPA’s Department of Drama. For nearly 10 years she has been on the artistic staff of Chautauqua Theater Company, where she currently serves as new play development manager as well as the director of their annual Young Playwrights Festival. She regularly incorporates new plays into her teaching practice. Other research interests include the incorporation of plays by female playwrights into scene study repertoire and Stanislavski's Action Analysis system.