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James Pallister looks at two interactive works by architects with a musical bent

[THIS WEEK] Anyone with 26,000 Euros to spare and a taste for eccentric musical instruments would do well to give Part 2 Bartlett and Bath graduate and CZWG staffer Mark Nixon a call

Nixon’s kinetic sculpture ‘Chimecco’, was recently on show in Aarhus as part of the Danish city’s annual ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ festival and is seeking a new home. The playful contraption consists of an undercarriage of what look like brass organ pipes (they’re gold anodised aluminium, actually – 600 of them) hanging from an (existing) steel and timber footbridge. Visitors make the chimes sound by walking over the bridge or playing them below. Nixon says the design builds upon themes of ‘play, multi-sensory design and the hidden object’, which, while at the Bartlett, he explored in schemes including a series of follies for New York’s Highline. Nixon’s sculpture has now been dismantled and is looking for an owner, with Nixon speculating that it may make an appearance at Bondi Beach’s Sculpture by the Sea event next year.

Nixon follows in the tracks of Liminial, the name given to the 15-year-old collaboration between architect Frances Crow and sound artist composer David Prior. Last year its interactive sculpture, The Organ of Corti, won the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Award and this month has embarked on a tour of UK music festivals. Whereas Chimecco produces sound through kinetic stimuli, The Organ of Corti takes ambient sound as its input, filtering incoming sound through a 4m-high lattice of cylinders, rather excitingly called a ‘sonic crystal array’. These are replayed at different frequencies, which change according to the listeners’ location when they climb in, around and through it.

Trustees, buyers and curators take note: like Nixon, Crow and Prior do not yet have a final resting place for the organ. How about bidding for them both?

- MarkNixon.co.uk. See the Organ of Corti 15-17 August at Cotswold Water Park Lake 6, near the A419; 19-21 August at Worcester Music Festival, Diglis Weir, Liminal.org.uk

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