Dix in Sound in Situ
To listen, click on the orange circle/white arrow above.
Listener warning: Please note that the piece includes some adult language, as well as mentions of mental illness, suicide, and the treatment of mentally ill patients
that some listeners may find upsetting. Listener discretion is advised.
Incorporating original music, archival interview snippets, hotline recordings, primary documents, and found sounds, Dix in Sound in Situ is a new traveling audio installation by Felix Obelix. The piece will be premiered May 31–June 2, 2019 in Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina at SEEK Raleigh. Visitors will listen to the installation on headphones as they walk through the park, experiencing the collapse of time and history, and connecting them to the artist, to the place, and to the sounds themselves. The audio piece focuses in particular on the history of the former mental hospital in Dix Park, as well as mental health issues in the past and present.
Thank you to Raleigh Arts, who sponsored this project.
SEEK Raleigh is a festival of 20 temporary art installations and performances happening at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina May 31–June 2, 2019.
I will be stationed at Blair Dr. within the park from
5–8pm Friday, May 31;
and 3–9pm Saturday, June 1.
If you have really nice headphones, I encourage you to bring those!
If you don’t, I’ll have some earbuds on hand for you.
Here’s a map of the festival:
I note that I am an artist, and this is an artistic piece. Though I used primary documents and extensively researched the topic prior to the piece’s creation, I am not a historian, documentarian, or journalist. As an artist, I strove for truth and the ethical use of materials, but did not hold myself to the particular standards and modes of practice of journalists, documentarians, and historians.
Conceived, researched, recorded, and produced by Felix Obelix.
All music composed, performed, and recorded by Felix Obelix.
All field recordings were made in Dorothea Dix Park by Felix Obelix.
Final audio mixed by Barnabas Poffley.
The readers were: Jane Allen Wilson, Hank Hardigan, Brian Risk, Tom Vanaman, Kate Lothman, Ian Ostrowski, Kathleen Block, Josh Starmer, Alexia Kelley, and Billy Sugarfix.
Ernie Dollar of the City of Raleigh Museum
Alex Maiolo and Martin Hall of Lee-Moore Insurance
Tamara Kissane and her podcast, The Artist Soapbox
The NC State Archives
The studio equipment I used to make this project was made possible by an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant from the Durham Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
My sincerest thanks go to the brave people who called the special mental health hotline I set up for this project. The prompt of the hotline was: “What about your experience with mental illness do you wish that other people knew?” Voicemails were left anonymously.
If you are a hotline caller and are reading this, I thank you for your candor and willingness to share. Your voices really made this piece. I hope you like the final product.
Mental Health Resources
If you’re in the United States and have questions about mental health issues, you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
If you’re outside the US, many countries have similar hotlines and resources.
You’re just one internet search away from help and you deserve it.