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No experience necessary for ensemble that embraces DIY ethos

Tuesday, 07 February 2017

Tags: Homepage; School of Communications and Arts; Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA); Homepage featured

The public is invited to join ECU artists in creating music using unconventional instruments, including a playable plant, a water-filled subwoofer and 3D printed flutes.

It’s all part of a new exhibition at ECU’s Spectrum Project Space from 23 February to 10 March 2017 fusing art and science. 

Making the Makestra has been developed by Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) PhD candidate Cissi Tsang, Composition student Jean-Michel Maujean, and Photo-media student Zal Kanga-Parabia.

Using various elements of modern technology a series of instruments have been created, including:

  • 3D-printed flute
  • 16-tone acoustic/electric piano
  • A hydrowoofer (a subwoofer filled with water)
  • Touch-responsive playable plant
  • Interactive star projection.

PhD candidate Cissi Tsang said visitors to the exhibition will be invited to play and experiment with the instruments, working together with the artists with the aim of creating new works. A concert at the conclusion of the exhibition will feature the sounds created.

“We hope to collaborate with visitors to the exhibition and allow opportunities for people to record or perform their contributions to the Makestra. No experience necessary,” Ms Tsang said.

Unconventional materials to make music

The artists are exploring alternative methods for musical expression, including sonifying stars, alternative scoring systems and projections.

A combination of found objects, DIY technology and re-purposed items have been used to create the ensemble. The 16-tone piano was made from a re-purposed Kawaii portable piano, while the flutes were made at the Perth Artifactory using a 3D printer. The artists also use some very unconventional musical material, like plants.

For the star projection that will form the basis of an interactive instrument, multiple photos of the night sky at Beringbooding Rock (approximately 350km north east of Perth) were taken and stitched together into one large panorama.  

Ms Tsang said the idea behind the exhibition is to break down music, physics, technology and art to help find common ground, where people of diverse backgrounds can see interactions between the different fields.

“We hope that the multisensory works can help inspire engagement with art and science through play,” she said.

Making the Makestra opening celebration is on Thursday, 23 February, 6:00 - 8:00pm with a demonstration tour beginning at 5:40pm. The exhibition will then run from Friday, 24 February until Friday, 10 March with a closing concert on Friday, 10 March from 7:00pm featuring sounds created with visitor collaboration.

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