Instruments of Calibration and Ascertainment
ongoing work from the Roswell Artist-in-Residency
Jan 2005 - Jan 2006

 

 
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Installation views at
Roswell Museum and
Art Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Serenade for Bob Goddard

 

   

Cobbled Phonograph #1 (for Serenade)

Victrola parts, wood, and steel

30" x 20" x 40"

This instrument was used in a brief performance during the opening reception of this exhibition in the Roswell Museum. The artist, clad in the embroidered cloak, traveled with the phonograph from here through the Robert Goddard wing, and back in serenade/elegy for the innovative rocketeer. The selected song was “Fly Me to the Moon” by Bart Howard, performed by Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra, the same version played during the landing sequence of the Apollo mission in 1969. This was the first music to play in space. Goddard was an early pioneer of rocketry, intent on reaching “extreme altitudes,” sending a rocket to the moon and possibly to mars. He died in 1945, when the probability of such missions was still viewed with skepticism.

   
     

Nips

mahogany, aluminum, brass, and steel

8" x 4.5" x 3/4"

This small instrument operates with a scissor-like maneuver by the thumb and forefinger when placed in the brass rings. The mahogany shape cups the palm of the hand. The function of the tips of this device, one smooth and one with small spines, is oblique and multifarious.

 

   

Doser

copper and maple, 7" x 4.5"x 2.5"

This instrument measures out single doses of liquid. It expresses an offering, when held in the hands of the administrator, to an open mouth. Its dispensation results in an intimate exchange between the administrator and receiver of the dose, while suggesting some alchemical transformation in the exchange. It exists more for theoretical than actual use.

   

Eartrumpet

aluminum, copper, and ebony inbasswood and cotton lined case,
15" x 6" x 6"

This instrument functions as an analogue amplifier. It harnesses the physics of a particular shape and volume to funnel sound into a concentrated area. A previously popular accoutrement of the aged and wealthy, this device has fallen from fashion with culture’s desire to suppress the visibility of an imperfect physiognomy.

   
     
   

Phi Rule (armspan)

boxwood, brass, and ink, 1624 mm long extended

This measuring and drafting device is calibrated in millimeters, and spans the distance of the artist’s armspan. It is jointed correspondingly so that a line may be measured out according to the segments of the arms. In this way, it relates the body to its environment in a tangible and quantifiable way. Phi, also called the Golden Rule, is a proportion of roughly 1:1.618 and is classically considered the most pleasing of proportions. It is found repeatedly in nature as well as the body and holds much notoriety from its use in Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”.

   
   

Triple Doser

maple and butternut woods, lead, cotton,
34" x 30"x 44"

This instrument measures out three simultaneous doses upon collaboration with a dosing administrator. The kneeler, which accommodates three supplicants, suggests a ceremonial ritual whose privilege is belied by the potentially poisonous lead lining of the dosing apparatus.

   
more coming soon      

Three of a Kind

aluminum and ebony


These instruments suggest both a scraping and collecting function with their spoon-like ends, as well as a measuring function for calibrating small volumes. Their delicate style and material construction also suggest uncommon use for special occasions.

   
 

Monitoring the Dunes

Used in an endurance performance in White Sands National Monument, September 2005. The “monitor” and her instrument case are in white, blending in to the environs. The instrument is unpacked and assembled on site in the dunes. It consists of two large stethoscopes, which press against the sand and connect to the monitor’s earphones via tubing. This device is housed in tall forearm crutches, so that when in use, the monitor pulls her body off the earth, and only her ears (via their extensions) are connected to the earth. The monitor’s endurance determines her ability to sonically monitor the dunes.

   
coming soon

(presently untitled finger instrument)

brass, steel, ebony, nylon, and felt

 

 
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