Jane Edden, Wind Instrument 2, 2007, Wood, electronics and sound recording with feather, 170 x 17 x 9 cm, 67 x 6 3/4 x 3 3/4 in
Some of the most significant works of eccentric English inventor Rowland Emett will be displayed in a new exhibition at Thinktank Museum in Birmingham, including the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.
As part of this playful exhibition, families will be able to interact with pieces from the MAD Museum (Mechanical Art and Design) in Stratford upon Avon, alongside kinetic artwork by a range of other artists, many of whom were influenced by Rowland Emett’s automata style. The collection aims to showcase the legacy of this British icon.
Jane Edden will exhibit Wind Instrument 2 as part of the show, a mechanical piece which produces music when detecting a breeze. A feather is balanced in equilibrium at the centre of the work, keeping the piece still. If the balance of this feather is disrupted by air currents, the piece bursts into song. The music produced is the pre-recorded, ethereal haunting sound of a well trained voice. The long wires on the body of the piece appear as though they could be strummed, however the instrument cannot be played in a traditional sense and is only activated by breath. When triggered, the feather moves in the fashion of a metronome with an irregular rhythm. The concept behind Wind instrument 2 is to amplify something slight, such as a small breath, into a much larger sound, giving a disproportionate response. The work is designed to appear as though the operator has exhaled the sound, however the notes produced last longer than the breath taken to operate the machine, which transforms the active user back into an inactive listening audience.