screaming bones, vibrating mass (2009)

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Bone is used in this artwork as a symbolic and physical conduit from which sound is both recorded and propagated in a feedback loop, presenting a poetic extension into the decontextualization and re-appropriation of the detritus of animal foodstock.  As a musical instrument, the project is reminiscent of cave lithophones and stone organs, the sound of which is incumbent on the physical properties of the objects used. The project as sounding sculpture is a similar exploration into the resonating potential of bone.

Exhibited in SymbioticA, at the University of Western Australia in 2009 in fulfillment of the graduate course ‘Art and Life Manipulation’





The portion of bone required was cut from the shaft section of the femur, the diaphysis, so that its resulting shape would resemble a conduit, or an ear canal. After maceration and cleaning of the bone, a small speaker and a contact microphone was placed at either ends of each conduit. By introducing a pure tone at 317Hz, the bone induced a feedback at its resonance frequency, causing it to ‘scream’.  The contact microphones’ ability to react succinctly to touch allowed changes in the sound (by dampening and enhancing feedback) with the slightest brush on the bone surface, promoting visitor engagement with the material through this interactivity.  The compressor was made with a simple Max MSP patch, and was connected to the computer via a Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1.