Performance: Ballet Mécanique: A Spread Spectrum-Ecstasy


Location: Hesburgh Center Auditorium

John Matthias will be performing his poem-drama, “Ballet Mécanique,” with the voices of Joyelle McSweeney and Stephen Fredman and image and sound by Chris Jara.

Matthias’ poem is inspired by the collaboration between Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil. Lamarr, a famous screen siren of the Golden Age at MGM, and Antheil, an avant-garde composer, designed a radio-directed torpedo according to the principals that we now call spread-spectrum technology. They got the scheme patented, and this patent is actually the prototype of designs used for cell phones, wireless Internet, and today’s so called smart weapons. Matthias considered their patent one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century, and upon reading Lamarr’s obituary in November 2000, wrote a poem in the context of many other things happening in the lives both of the two principal characters and the lives around them. The poem was originally published online and eventually in Matthias’ book, Working Progress/Working Title.

Professor John Matthias has published twenty books of poetry, translation, criticism, and scholarship. His most recent titles include Swimming at Midnight: Selected Shorter Poems (1995), Beltane at Aphelion: Longer Poems (1995), Pages: New Poems and Cuttings (2000), Kedging (2007), and Notre Dame Review: The First Ten Years (2009). His poetry has been translated into ten languages.

For more information, visit the Creative Writing website.

The reading is free and open to the public.

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