Part one is drawn directly, word for word, from the Joban prose tale which bookend the Book of Job. In this surprisingly philosophical tale, what is at stake is not simply the testing of a virtue but the testing of the conditions that make virtue possible. Although the narrative is rudimentary, in it existence is construde as a story of leaving and returning, of loss and redemption. We hear it narrated by a nine year old girl over illustrations of the story done by a six year old.


Part two is the first section of a short story that is narrated by an adult woman. It describes one man's descent into darkness and the void. Though the story is fictional, it is a tapestry woven from the fragments of true accounts and quotations, gathered through interviews and conversations with men and women who had fallen through the cracks. These interviews were done several years ago while I was an artist in residence at Saint John the Divine and working with affiliates of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing on another project, 14 Stations. We hear the story over a sequence of still photographs.


Part three is the longest of the sections as it includes a live musical performance. The sequence opens with an image of a man in bed who we might assume to be the figure of Job surrounded by his three friends. This section, a narrative carry-over from the short story that preceeded it, changes approach by giving the characters a voice of their own as opposed to a narrator who speaks about them, and in this sense, follows the logic of the Book of Job.

We hear the dialogues between Job and his friends over a sequence of still images. Most of these dialogues are short improvisations on those that occur in the Book of Job. After each one runs its course we hear the sound of bell which is the key for the live music to begin.

Part Four is the conclusion of Part two as narrated by the adult woman.

Part Five is the conclusion of Part One—the prose story as narrated by the young girl.

The music performed was Orlando di Lasso's second Motet Cycle for Matins of the Dead titled, Lectiones sacrae noven, ex libris Hiob excerptae, ca. 1592. It sets the nine lectiones from the Book of Job that appear in the Office for the Dead from at least the elevent century, until 1965, when, following the Second Vatican Council, substantial revisions of the entire Divine Office were made. The Office for the Dead would have been read prior to a Requiem Mass and burial, and might have been used for individual or corporate commemoration (e.g., for all Souls' Day). Three lectiones were performed after each brief dialogue. This repeated three times.