Instrument (90ºS)

2017

 

Instrument (90ºS) is a hybrid object. It served as a polar marker and remains an indexical artefact of my fieldwork at the South Pole. It is both a musical and an atmospheric instrument. It relies on technologies and craftsmanship developed for musical instruments (featuring a wooden pre-stressed resonator held in tension by piano strings which are tuned with both mechanical piano pegs and moveable bridges, and bowed by a rosined mechanical wheel much like a hurdy-gurdy) but it was specifically designed and constructed to respond to the harsh conditions of the Pole. Like scientific instruments it can be tuned, and it responds in different ways to different levels of input. And like all scientific instruments it produces data – in this case sound. The Instrument is a transduction device – it converts energy from one form into another so that it can be perceived and recorded. It transduces the flow between air pressure differentials (i.e. wind), through harmonic vibration into sound which we can hear and can be recorded for future work. Instrument (90ºS) operated in conceptual and physical adjacency with another transduction instrument (the IceCube Neutrino Observatory) which catalyzed discussion, analysis, creativity and collaboration. Ultimately,  Instrument (90ºS) is a sculptural work, embodying an artist’s strategy for experiencing and understanding a challenging and difficult to comprehend environment.