Jessica Segall’s Fugue in B♭ is an observational beehive and audiovisual sculpture, comprised of a piano harp’s cast iron string chassis enclosed in wood and plexiglass. Inside the frame is a contact microphone, which amplifies sounds of bee activity and its resonance on the piano strings through outdoor speakers in the park. The frame is vented and has a means of egress on top for the bees to forage and return to the hive. The salvaged piano recalls the changing industrial landscape of the neighborhood, exemplified by the Sohmer & Co. Piano Factory Building turned condominium overlooking the park. The piece can be considered an homage to nineteenth-century Astoria which was once a major industrial port and hub of piano manufacturing.
Jessica Segall, Study in Fugue in B♭, 2016. Installation View. Courtesy of Nate Dorr.
Solid concrete pillows are staked against one another to create a “cushion fort”, like the type that children create out of sofa pillows. There is a dark humor to this work, as it plays between the contrasting materials — pillows and concrete — and drastically divergent actions — simple children’s games and real-life adult combat.