Stories of Mechanical Music v.1 (2017)

Stories of Mechanical Music is an installation that proposes an anachronistic and media-specific take on the music box, made out of 75 CDs cut with a CNC machine. A side crank activates the rotation of the box, modulating the playback speed and direction of a musical composition that was created with samples taken from the CDs. The design of the overall shape, resulting from the accumulation of the cut-out disks, is based on the amplitude profile of the music and induces ondulating patterns when in motion.

The disks for this iteration come from various sources: Swedish traditional and dated pop music from a second hand disk shop in Göteborg, classical compilations from a Renaissance thrift shop in Montreal and electroacoustic CDs given by friends.

Altering and modifying the CDs underscores their existence as physical, mass produced objects by making them obsolete and useless. Before music was stored mostly as digital files, the tangible recording, be it a cd, a vinyl or a cassette, was transcended by the music it carried, giving it an almost magical aura. The musical material and the emotional response that it could trigger was conflated with the distinct, tangible object that allowed its playback, deliverance and existence. Nowadays, as most music can be found easily in digital format, music and the medium that carries it are more differenciated. The correlation between music and form in Stories of Mechanical Music aims to anchor the piece of music to the physical world, as an augmented object.

photo: Myriam Bleau