Gustav Klutsis sculpture / 1922

Gustav Klutsis sculpture / 1922

Narrative Machine / Prototypes

is a collaboration with Daniel Lofaro, Potomac Arts Academy. The Instruments in the Attic art sculpture project.  

The Narrative Machine is the result of this unique recycling experiment--a cross-disciplinary collaboration between School of Art Associate Professor and new media artist, Edgar Endress, and Dr. Daniel Lofaro from the Volgenau School of Engineering. Their ongoing series of sound sculptures uses new media technology to give these discarded musical instruments a new life as art. In its final form The Narrative Machine will be a large installation with a series of single instruments activated by microprocessors which will play together as an automatic orchestra. Using an open system, The Narrative Machine allows diverse inputs from diverse data sources, in effect transforming any given data set into a musical narrative.

The prototype takes inspiration from Gustav Klucis (1895–1938), a Russian Constructivist artist whose kiosks dotted the streets of Moscow following the Russian Revolution. The kiosks were groundbreaking examples of multimedia, integrating radio broadcasts, film screenings, and dynamic graphic displays for popular consumption. The Narrative Machine responds similarly to today’s technological revolution by harnessing the inspirational power of connection data to culture.

The Potomac Arts Academy’s “Instruments in the Attic” program puts unused musical instruments back into the hands of deserving students and community members. Every year hundreds of instruments are donated and repaired, but some are beyond repair. Instead of throwing them away, they are being upcycled by Mason’s School of Art where they are transformed into innovative sound sculptures--all with the support of the Patriot Green Fund!

Article: Using discarded musical instruments to construct a robotic orchestra