has a piece in the Looking Back
group show at White Columns
(the show runs until December 13th).
His contribution to the show is adapted from one of his live performances. It consists of a bird puppet which dips its needle/head down onto a record (which was recorded by Thayer), to play a random excerpt.
In a performance, Thayer would control the bird by hand, but for White Columns he has automated the motion. A microcontroller & servo turns a spindle that, in turn, pulls & releases a string through a pulley to raise & lower the bird's head.
I assisted Tom a bit with the automation. It was a lot of fun... he wanted to a way to record his manual manipulation of the string. I particularly liked this approach because it keeps a human touch in the motion--and I don't think it would have occured to me to do this, I probably would have simply directly programmed the motion into the controller.
I also really appreciated that this is an artwork that was conceived before the technical solution was applied. All too often we see work in which a technical challenge seems to be driving purpose and the artistic concept an after thought.
I can't wait to see what Thayer does next!
Labels: performance, physical computing, random, shows, sound