Tag Archives: Trimpin

Take The (Musical) Weather With You

Sculptural Musical Scores - Photo By Nathalie Miebach

I’ve written a few previous posts about my Masters thesis project which parallels and ties in with the content of this blog. Im currently investigating several areas to focus my research but at the moment I’m broadly looking into the intersection between sound art and sound science.

There are many ways that the two realms can become intertwined. Alvin Lucier’s pioneering sound works, including his most famous piece “I Am Sitting In a Room“, are meditations on the physical properties of sound (and well worth a listen). Modern sound sculptures like the Panopticons and the “tree horn” utilise natural phenomenon to create sculptures that breathe with movement and life.

Then there is the growing trend among sound artists to make use of environmental data (seismic, meteorological etc etc.) to create works of art whose design reflect natural processes. In a previous post I wrote about Trimpin, a zany and eclectic sound artist who employs such techniques. Another such artist is sculptor Nathalie Miebach. She creates wonderfully colourful woven sculptures based upon weather data she collects. Her artistic statement provides a fascinating overview of her ideas and a clear summation of many of the themes being explored in this explosion of science themed art (or art themed science?).

But it is her so called “sculptural musical scores” that interest me the most. Nathalie explains the process of their creation:

“Recently, I have begun translating weather data collected in cities into musical scores, which are then translated into sculptures as well as being a source for collaboration with musicians. These pieces are not only devices that map meteorological conditions of a specific time and place, but are also functional musical scores to be played by musicians. While musicians have freedom to interpret, they are asked not to change the essential relationship of the notes to ensure that what is still heard is indeed the meteorological relationship of weather data.”

As well as being semi-functional and fascinating as an experiment in mixed media science communication, they are also wonderful to look at. I’ll be looking into writing more about Nathalie in future and incorporating her ideas into my Masters thesis.



Trimpin's Klompen - Photo by Thomas Crenshaw (CCBY)

It’s film festival time in Dunedin again and what a good time of year it is. Among my personal highlights so far was Oscar-winning ‘A Prophet‘ and Oscar deserving ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop‘. You owe it to yourself to see both.

Those of you with an interest in D.I.Y. acoustic sonic wizardry also ought to head along and see ‘Trimpin: The Sound of Invention’. Trimpin is the single-name moniker of the eccentric German-born inventor/artist/musician whose life and work is documented in the film. And this guy is serious about his life and work. The sheer number of bizarre contraptions and gadgets he calls his own is astounding. Tours of his studio reveal the kind of cluttered wonderland usually restricted to fantastical kid’s movies. That probably has something to do with his child-like curiosity – he talks of his life being one big experiment that’s still very much going on.

The filmmaker followed Trimpin for two years and managed to capture some pretty great stuff, including the evolution of a musical collaboration with long-time envelope pushers The Kronos Quartet.

Official website here.