Last weekend, some friends and I made a pilgrimage to Mass MoCA in the Berkshires to see Sam Amidon, a folk musician-cum-performance artist (go check out his music and buy his records- do it!). Since Mass MoCA is three days journey from Boston by canoe, and if I’m going to portage over rocky New England terrain I want to spend at least a full day at my destination, we spent the day
This wheel is gonna make me rich.
bouncing around the Sol LeWitt exhibit, ooh-ing and ahh-ing. It was an emotional experience. Really. I’m not putting a link here because the exhibit’s up for another twenty years, so no one has an excuse to miss it. Digressions aside, my own artwork is tangentially related to what LeWitt did, and so as we waited for Amidon to take the stage, we discussed my proclivities toward translating digital to analog (or making analog analogues), and reinventing the wheel in the process. So, I thought of a way to reinvent the musical wheel:
Vinyl, like most analog media (8-track excluded), is awesome because it’s warm, organic almost. OK, this is an oversimplification, but sound is vibrations, and records work by immediately creating vibrations. Digital works by encoding what the sound should be, like a sophisticated game of digital telephone. Despite what certain vintage clothes-wearing irony-lovers would tell you, vinyl’s not the end-all be-all. It’s not better than live music. And so, I give you: the animatronic band! Right, I know there’s a communist-hating mouse with a frozen head who already thought of that, but my wheel is better. First of all, my wheels robots convert digital music into real music, by playing real instruments. Maybe tiny instruments, so you can keep them in your living room. Second, my robots don’t look like people, or bears with developmental problems– they’re just enough machinery to make the music play.