Bone China (2014)
Bone China (2014) was commissioned by Fonds Podiumkunsten for November Music, 5-9 November 2014, Willem II Fabriek, ‘s Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Bone China, a sculptural sound installation, is a sprawling musical automata made of found ceramics and copper. The ceramics were chosen for their sound. They have been ordered according to pitch and not altered in any way. The pure bell-like sound and fragile notes are struck by a set of handmade hammers made especially for the ceramics. The hammers are fingerlike, catching the edge of the objects and plucking them as though they were strings. Melodies and harmonies emerge from the bodies of the objects as the copper dials lead the fingerlike hammers across the objects. The music is unique to this set of ceramics. A different collection would sing a different song.
The installation was inspired by collections of pottery, ceramics and intricately ornamented jewelry recovered from ancient sites around the world. Pottery has been used as a material throughout the ages and the objects of prehistory resemble the same objects used in modern times. Observing various displays of ancient pottery, a curiosity for the quality of their sound was unleashed, posing the question of whether they sound similar to modern ceramics. Before the invention of metal pipes, strings and other musical instruments, ceramics could have been tuned and tempered, used to create modes and musical scales. Ceramic objects could have been modeled to create pitch and arranged in such a way to capture melodies like a prehistoric tape or record.