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The lonesome cut up
LED sign 8" x 48"
In Collaboration with Clint Sleeper

Borrowing a song writing device known as "the cut-up technique", which takes apart lyrics from existing songs and reassembles them to create new works, we have re-ordered the lyrics to a famous Country and Western song to create a critical comment on urban development and the loss of natural habitats.

"Cut-ups" have long been used to spark new ideas for arrangements and lyrical structures, and in this piece, titled The lonesome cut up, we reference the tried and true method by appropriating all the lyrics from the song “I'm so lonesome I could cry,” written in 1949 by Hank Williams and reassembling them through the use of a handwritten html code to randomize the words, forming a new text that was then programmed into the LED sign to play in a continuous loop. The text color and font was formatted to resemble the type of scrolling LED sign you might see appearing on a tour bus, a bus stop, or a gas station window, all urban signifiers that people are moving through the landscape.

The song famously begins with the directive, “Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, he sounds too blue to fly." Williams references birds and birdsong to evoke a sense of place and a feeling of loss. Looking at correlations between urban growth and population numbers of the Whippoorwill in North America, and more specifically, Nashville, the Tennessee Ornithological Journal reflects that as "Music City" has grown over the years the population of Whippoorwills have steadily declined.

Put it all together...

heart breaking.