Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
Through a multi-channel sound and architectural installation, DLP Mirror activates a musical score composed by David Lee Powell while incarcerated on Texas death row.
For the first time since Eastern opened to the public, visitors can step into the former death row cell block. Bars that had been cut out when the site was abandoned are replaced with translucent tubes to function as a diagram and help visitors imagine what it was like for those incarcerated here.
The piano score playing over the speakers was composed by David Lee Powell without any musical training or access to an instrument. He was executed in 2010 after spending 32-years on Texas death row.
At the opening violinists Mollie Ducoste and Philip Kates played the original score that inspired David’s variation.
Visitors can take a copy of the score home with them to activate and share in their own contexts.
We re-wrote and re-recorded the audio tours to include new historical information we learned in the process and to end with a reflection on the nearly 2500 individuals currently on death row in the United States.