Glass Abattoir, for three speaking percussionists, was written in the fall of 2008 as part of the School for Designing a Society House Theater program. The work interweaves three different narratives that each depicts historical accounts of social injustice and oppression: the Trail of Tears, the Bolivian Water Crisis, and the Iraqi War Occupation. The spoken, sung, and whispered text is augmented by different “found” materials (wood, metal, and glass) arranged in the manner of dinner utensils. The text and the percussive materials are designed to effectuate the mechanics of dinner conversation ritual. The title refers to the metaphor used in Michael Pollan’s book The Ominvore’s Dilemma to emphasize the consequences behind the food we eat. An abattoir is a slaughterhouse. In this context, this same metaphor refers to the way the different narratives strip away the hidden truths and consequences behind certain “normalized” social actions.
A video of a performance of the work by Ensemble 64.8 may be found here.