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Book details
  • Genre:EDUCATION
  • SubGenre:Multicultural Education
  • Language:English
  • Pages:139
  • eBook ISBN:9781098321420

The Crawfish Circuit

An Investigation of the Musical Soundscape of Southwest Louisiana

by Giraud Polite View author's profile page

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Overview
The Crawfish Circuit addresses the process and implications of documenting and exhibiting a musical soundscape, utilizing the culture of southwest Louisiana as an anchor. Together the long essay and creative project both clarify the importance of photography as an essential receptacle of memories, and reveals zydeco music and other sounds within southwest Louisiana's soundscape to insiders of the community, while exposing outsiders with limited knowledge of the genre.
Description
This creative dissertation addresses the process and implications of documenting and exhibiting a musical soundscape, utilizing the culture of southwest Louisiana as an anchor. From an insider's perspective, the scholarly essay interrogates the photographer's privilege and civil contract within a cultural, historical, and artistic framework. This study examines the relationship between music and social welfare, and explores the messages between the photographic image, sound, and memory. The investigation reflects ultimately on the overall creative process as it pertains to the presentation of the visual image and the fusion between sound and documentary photography. The creative project consists of an immersive installation combining photography, music, and other auditory elements to convey the essence of significant sounds, which correlate to indigenous culture. The rhetorical device, ekphrasis, an exercise in using one medium of art to illuminate another, is instrumental to this project. Employing ekphrasis allows for a deeper understanding of the essence and form of the art, and serves as the connection between the mediums of sound and photography within the context of an exhibition space. Essential sounds and zydeco songs accompany a variety of photographs, allowing the viewer to experience an aural-visual representation of the south Louisiana soundscape. Field investigations reveal the importance of sounds to the community and symbolize important moments in the lives of the interviewees as they reflect on the construction of their identities. In the end, this project clarifies the importance of photography as an essential receptacle of memories. Also, it reveals zydeco and other sounds within southwest Louisiana's soundscape to insiders of the community, while exposing outsiders with limited knowledge of the genre.
About the author
As an artist-scholar with more than 15 years of instruction and leadership experience in K-16 education and more than two decades of experience as a visual creative documenting ethnic groups on six continents, Giraud Polite offers a unique perspective within higher education and to consumers of his work. Working in the areas of multimedia arts and digital photography, Giraud's projects explore themes such as cultural ritual and memory. His research and documentary photography explores the photograph as a sacred and reproducible object. Re-imagining the conventional photograph on paper, he uses industrial materials, such as aluminum, wood and Plexiglas to create permanence within the story of the image. By adding weight and mass to the image with these materials, Giraud affirms the existence of the photograph as a sculptural object, relic or artifact. Much of his work has contextual roots in the African diaspora, taking him from his hometown of St. Martinville, Louisiana to the Caribbean and Senegal. Giraud's most well-known collection, The Crawfish Circuit: Exploring Southwest Louisiana's Soundscape, highlights the tension of knowing and exploring held by Giraud as a native son of the region. The collection examines the relationship between music and social welfare against the backdrop of southwest Louisiana's vibrant and complex culture, while exploring the intersections of photographic image, sound and memory. As an artist whose lived experience centers on Louisiana and Texas, Giraud has exhibited works extending from digital photography to multimedia arts in a variety of museums, cultural centers and educational institutions. His work has been displayed at the African American Museum, South Dallas Cultural Center, University of Texas at Dallas, Irving Arts Center, Opelousas Museum of Retrospective Center, The Creole and Cajun Museum, the Evangeline Outdoor Museum and a host of other galleries and venues throughout the region. Giraud holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas in humanities with a focus on aesthetic studies as well as an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix, Dallas and a B.A in Broadcast Management from the University of Texas at Arlington.
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