April 15, 2009
link to original article
Kenosha Kid Presents Fahrenheit
By Ryan Monahan
“Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality… This book has pores… The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper…”
Ask jazz entrepreneur Dan Nettles to unravel the complex ideas behind his multimedia-noir project, “Fahrenheit,” and you may be reminded of this passage from Ray Bradbury’s classic critique on censorship, Fahrenheit 451, the inspiration behind this production. It’s a statement that is true not just of literature, but also of great works of music and film. Such “pores” provide us with the context from which we reflect upon the world around us and which, in turn, we use to understand ourselves.
“Think of ‘Fahrenheit’ as ‘Kenosha Kid A meets Blade Runner,'” Nettles half-jokes, examining the pores of the project as he pays homage to two defining works of science fiction in popular culture. As an added tangential pore, the sci-fi creators of said album Kid A, Radiohead, earned themselves a Grammy for the special edition release of their follow-up, Amnesiac, which was packaged as a “rescued” book (complete with overdue library card) from the libraries of Bradbury’s fictitious world, where books are routinely burned by firemen for the “threat” they pose to society.
Along similar lines, the ideas fueling “Fahrenheit” aim to blur the distinction between synthetic and organic; the lifeless and animate – to mirror a hypothetical society in which demonized forces of technology aided by totalitarian authority threaten to undermine the last vestiges of the natural order. A joint effort between Nettles and filmmaker Eddie Whelan under a grant from UGA’s Ideas for Creative Exploration, the event was conceived as a “a darkly illuminating multi-media exploration,” and will feature all nine members of indie-jazz ensemble Kenosha Kid, the film work of Eddie Whelan, and actors Dan Bollinger and Laylage Courie. While the production also uses elements of spoken word, “Fahrenheit” is not a narrative of the original text; rather, it elucidates themes of the book in three dimensions, uniting the talents of artists from various backgrounds in order to bring Bradbury’s dystopian visions to life.
Among “Fahrenheit”‘s many themes, one particular act explores “all the things that children know before they grow into forgetfulness,” says Nettles. Only through the examination of society’s pores can we avoid the perils of such forgetfulness, and “Fahrenheit” serves as just one pore in a great fabric of ideas to remind us of the freedoms that we share in a democratic society and of the importance of how events like these came to be in the first place.