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A walkthrough exhibition on the history of jazz music and the African-American culture that facilitated it allows visitors to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to learn about one of the most American art forms while they wait to board their flights.


The timeline is spread across the faces of large freestanding structures which form modular letterforms spelling the word “jazz” when viewed from above. The phrase “it begins with tragedy,” alluding to the American slavery which ultimately inspires the predecessors to jazz, welcomes visitors into the installation, leading them around the curve of the first structure to Emancipation, an event which allows the ragtime and blues music developed during the days of slavery to truly flourish into jazz. The letterform structures alternate between bright, fun colors to reflect the strong rhythm of jazz music. Duotone images of influential figures in the genre’s development are laid over one another and even obscure letterforms, drawing a visual parallel to the layering of sounds and unpredictability in improvisational music.


As viewers reach the end of the installation, they are given a sendoff alluding to the constant evolution of jazz. This implies that the timeline does not mark a beginning and end, but simply the origin of an art form which continues to progress into the modern age.

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