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Ghost Wars at MMSD Planetarium

January 7 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A mockup by Thomas Ferrella from "Ghost Wars," featuring a US dollar scorched in bright red and etched with atom bomb symbols over its Federal Reserve seals.

A mockup by Thomas Ferrella from “Ghost Wars,” featuring a US dollar scorched in bright red and etched with atom bomb symbols over its Federal Reserve seals.

Each winter seems to facilitate a new live multimedia collaboration between video artist and cinematographer Aaron Granat and multi-hyphenate BlueStem Jazz curator and co-founder Thomas Ferrella. From Mindstorm at the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Planetarium in March 2020 to Shadowlands at Garver Feed Mill in February 2021, the two have been concocting psychedelic whirlwinds of ecstatic digital visuals and and jazz-inspired electroacoustic soundscapes (led by Ferrella’s “sonic frontiers collective” You Of All People).

Their newest project, Ghost Wars, premiered at Gallery Marzen in May 2022, but now returns to the MMSD Planetarium here, on the nights of January 6 and 7 (both starting at 8 p.m.), with a decidedly incendiary political angle. If Shadowlands (part of the Winter Is Alive cooler world carnival of 2021) delved into changing wetland ecosystems in both the abstract and on vividly literal terms, Ghost Wars pushes boundaries further in its rippling raze of the personal and public desolations of late capitalism and endless war. Its imagery, crafted or shot by Ferrella and manipulated by Granat in real time, draws upon familiar totems and symbols (Ferrella’s art prints, for one) to metamorphose a tapestry of American avarice and strife. As evidenced in a short preview below, some of the stark visual components permeating the frame involve the atom bomb-etched American dollar bills sewn into the national flag.

Along with You Of All People’s extended technique and effects-laden spoken word providing the melodies and textures to this live brew under the Planetarium dome, Granat and Ferrella have enlisted other local allies to enhance the breadth of the live spectacle—including Kit Caldwell (costume design), Ian Van D. (sculptural performance), and Lauren Lynch (choreography).

All proceeds from both unique hour-long performances will benefit the Madison chapter of Friends Of Ukraine.

Grant Phipps


MMSD Planetarium
201 South Gammon Road
Madison, WI 53717 United States
+ Google Map
(608) 663-6102
View Venue Website

Please note: For now, this is a listing of events that Tone Madison is hosting—including our quarterly-ish Office Hours meetups and occasional shows and workshops. We do not currently produce a listing of events around town, though we would like to in the future. But we do still preview shows, screenings, and other events around town in our stories.

If you are looking for a good local events calendar, we strongly recommend visiting our friends at Madison Minutes.

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