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ORCHESTRA OF THE IGNORED

2018 / clock + electronics + security guards

So much of what people pass by every day gets unnoticed, unappreciated and left to be seen as ordinary.  When starting the project I came to the realization that there are so many different sounds around me I never noticed or simply ignored. I wanted to bring these ignored sounds, objects to the foreground.

The sound installation is consisting of a mechanical clock, an Arduino Uno, solenoids and batteries. Designed to be mounted onto a wall with every solenoid attached to a different surface material found on and around the wall. Each solenoid produces a different sound when banging against the surface. Every hour the minute hand pushes a switch that activates the machine, creating an orchestra of a diversity of sounds and beats. The plan was to make music by playing with the materials that are already permanently installed in the space, to name a few possibilities -, a brick wall, a plaster wall, a glass window, a window frame, ventilation tubes, heating pipe, etc. Each material produces a different sound when hit by the solenoid.

 

The aim was to provocate, surprise and shock exhibition visitors, perhaps pointing out to the usually silent and ignored part of our environment - the humdrum.

this is not a bomb

But finally, the intervention never had the chance to be installed. It was too provocative for security guards to not be paranoid. After a long discussion with the curator and head of security, it became clear that the University won't take the risk of exhibiting this piece.

I suggested to the security that the "bomb" could be accompanied by a description sign that would indicate that this indeed is not an explosive weapon. Their counter-argument was that this would be exactly the kind of strategy that a terrorist would take - to mask a bomb in plain sight as an artwork.

The incident lead to the idea of putting a note "THIS IS NOT A BOMB Do not call the police" on ignored objects in the school instead.