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The Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise is pleased to be partnering with the Wexner Center for the Arts to co-host Descended. Coming this March, the event will include two live performances and several campus engagements.

About Descended

Part chamber music, part media art, part theater, this shape-shifting work owns as many haunting identities as its host-muse, Lafcadio Hearn (1850 - 1904). Created and performed by Hearn's Niece, Jean Laurenz, composer Maria Finkelmeier, and percussionist Greg Jukes, the work explores the turbulent undertones and uncanny narratives of Hearn's celebrated 19th-century macabre stories, his magnetic pull in his contributions to American journalism, his interpretation of Japanese ghost stories, and his documentation of underrepresented American cultures. Through this multi-media performance, audiences will create their own sensory entrance into life's deepest questions; questions whose fibers weave into every ghost story, spiritual mantra, and subliminal experience - questions whose answers lie just beyond the grasp of cognition, discoverable only through a transformative portal beyond human touch. 

About the Production


trumpet performing playing from ground with percussionist in background



Hearn was at various times a journalist, teacher, explorer of religious traditions, and documenter of underrepresented and underappreciated global cultures. 

Finkelmeier assimilates these varying threads with music that is by turns haunting, melancholy, uplifting, and playful. Laurenz's trumpet sometimes evokes the musical milieu of New Orleans, one of Hearn's adopted homes; sometimes a Copland-esque lonely urban cityscape; and sometimes the distant echo of something at the elusive edge of consciousness. 


dark blue stage, trumpet performer facing away from audience


Directed by Four/Ten Media, the award-winning independent art film is an abstract ghost story inspired by Lafcadio Hearn's works. 

The performance visuals, projected behind the performers as well as on a circular canvas, feature segments of the film with contemporary animation by visual artist, Xuan. The effects were uniquely curated by Xuan to warp the film's linearity into a new shapeshifted dimension. 

The sum of these visual components create a story about heritage, transcendence, and the profoundness of fear. They support and reflect the live experience on stage. 


Potrait of Lafcadio Hearn


In his day, Lafcadio Hearn stood with literary giants like Poe, Stevenson, and Whitman, but now his name only remains prominent in a few niche pockets outside of Japan. He was born in Greece but spent his early years in Ireland. By age four he was abandoned by both of his parents, abused by his new caretaker, and eventually sent away to study. By his late teens, Hearn was half blind due to an eye injury and homelessness. Traumatized by his youth, Hearn's coping mechanisms revolved around supernatural conceptualization, engrossment in fantasy, and fascination with the outside and the othered. These events set the canvas for his life. He moved from Greece to Ireland to Cincinnati, New Orleans, and New York, through the West Indies, and ultimately he landed in Japan. Lafcadio Hearn blended this unique perspective into his metaphysical literature, uniting dissonant cognitive existence with paranormal spaces. 


Potrait of Jean Laurenz



Jean Laurenz

Jean Laurenz, the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at UW-Madison, is an eclectic musician who loves variety and collaboration. She primarily performs with Seraph Brass and the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. A soloist and chamber musician, Jean has enjoyed appearances with artists including Adele, The Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and the Boston Pops. 




Potrait Maria Finkelmeier



Maria Finkelmeier

Named a "one-woman dynamo" by the Boston Globe, Maria is a percussionist, composer, professor, and digital media artist. Whether it's scoring conceptual art films, creating dance beats out of audio samples from everyday life, to serving as both director and performer in multi-sensory productions, her work continually transcends both genre and medium. 




Potrait of Greg Jukes





Greg Jukes

Greg Jukes is a percussionist and narrator whose work focuses on blending music, acting, and dance in hybrid performances. He is a founding member of the international touring ensemble, The Fourth Wall, and has created and narrated concerts with the Delaware Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, and Columbia Orchestras and National Philharmonic.








Visual Artist


Xuan is a new media artist, filmmaker, and pianist working at the intersection of music, visual art, and technology. A classical pianist with a passion for 'visual music', she actively develops innovative, cross-disciplinary projects that broaden the immersive scope of new music and performance. Her work explores themes of femininity, power, inner conflict, and multicultural identity. 



About the Residency


There will be an open rehearsal on Friday, March 22nd, 2024 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm in the Wexner Center Performance Space. Witness moments from the production and participate in a Q&A with the artists. RSVP soon, as seating is limited!


Please click here to RSVP or use the QR code below!


QR code for RSVP


There will be ticketed performances on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Please use this link to see more about the production and to buy tickets. 

"Lunch and Learn" w/ Descended Artists and Creative Team
Monday, March 25, 2024
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Barnett Center Collaboratory (141 Sullivant Hall – 1813 N. High Street)
Enjoy lunch and conversation with artists from the multi-disciplinary performance piece Descended
- Jean Laurenz, Soloist and Co-Director
- Maria Finkelmeyer, Composer and Co-Director
- Greg Jukes, Designer and Co-Director
- Xuan, Visual Artist
Bring your curiosities (and appetite!) to this session dedicated to career advancement and the entrepreneurial dimensions of life as a performing artist. RSVP is required by 5 PM on Friday, March 22, 2024. Please use the link here or the QR code below to RSVP!
Questions? Email us at BarnettCenter@osu.edu."
QR Code for Descended




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