Where: Museum of Contemporary Art
Medium: Sound and found instruments
Sound and installation artist Lucas Abela operates at the playful end of the art spectrum. He lures people into his work by making it fun and tapping into our intuitive understanding of amusement technologies.
In ‘Temple of Din’, for example, he turned a pinball table into a mini-gamelan orchestra. In ‘Vinyl Rally’, he re-engineered a video arcade driving game into a sound sculpture that sent remote control cars, each fitted with a record player stylus, careering over a track made of old LPs.
That same playful touch is apparent in a new work, ‘Fort Thunder’, an installation of 22 metal poles in a plastic framework, he describes as “audio Twister”.
“When kids or adults get inside, they touch the poles and connect them with their bodies,” Abela explains. “Your body becomes part of the circuitry, adding resistance, changing the sound. You can’t just touch one pole, you have to touch two or more – or connect yourself to other people touching poles.”
Abela, who also performs under the name Justice Yeldham (notorious in experimental music circles for playing shards of glass with his face), says he wants to empower gallery visitors to make noise – and lots of it.
“I want to show the fun of making powerful sounds and I try to make it easy for them to do it,” Abela says. “I like the idea of people coming into an exhibition expecting one thing and then it becoming something else.”
‘Fort Thunder’ is designed to be a collaborative experience. Bring friends or meet strangers, he says. “Five or six people at a time is ideal. The more connections, the more the instrument comes alive.”
You can attempt a solo performance he adds, “but you’d have to be pretty good at yoga.”