Polygon was a collaborative work created by MSU College of Music graduate students, Philip Rice (composer) and Patrick Bonczyk (librettist), produced in conjunction with the Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum exhibition, Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art that explored the artistic possibilities of language. Polygon’s modernist tone investigated the relationship between language, music and visual expression by appropriating texts from ancient and modern mathematicians, theologians, and an origami master. These texts were deconstructed into morphemes which underwent chance operations to form a sonic design, performed by singers and instrumentalists physically scattered to encourage the sonic possibilities inherent in the angular architecture of the Broad Art Museum.
The work was inspired by a dream had by Patrick Bonczyk in which he ate amorphous sea crustaceans and became ill. The consumption of the crustaceans was followed by a viewing of a staged “opera” called Polygon in which vocalists sang disjointed morphemes while reaching toward a mobile mounted above the stage. Patrick understood the morphemes and the primary shapes of the mobile to be semantically connected, symbolizing human attempts to achieve perfection through the elegance of primitive formal constructions.