Jamie xx, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Ballet Debuts


Jamie xx joined Wayne McGregor and Olafur Eliasson on adapting a ballet rendition of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, which opened its world tour this week in New York and is running at the Park Avenue Armory through September 21st. McGregor brought the two artists together and the result is apparently a singularly immersive experience: according to a long piece on the ballet in The Fader, Jamie xx

…built an algorithm that, McGregor explains, “plays each of the [book’s] pages” to create the base of the score which he then wrote melodies over. He also enlisted vocals and guitar-playing from emerging Norwegian artist, Okay Kaya, and shares his own voice for the first time on a track titled “French Press Girl.”


Eliasson built installations with grids and rotating, reflecting holes that provide spaces for the colored lights to change and blend into one another. They also fragment the dancers’ bodies from the audience’s perspective. “Producing reality is always about a relationship: between you and a space, a thought, a proposition, an object, and other people,” he told me. “I think that mirrors, or furthermore, being more aware of presence can really bring this idea to life.”

Watch the ballet’s trailer below.

Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →