Electromagnetic Musical [Télé-sculpture musicale]
- Hugh Davies
The generic name for a series of sound sculptures constructed by Takis since 1963. The earliest ones consist of a vertical white wooden panel (up to 200 × 100 cm), across which is stretched a length of piano wire at an angle of between 15° and 45° from the horizontal; in pieces made since 1966 the wire is amplified by means of a magnetic microphone. From the top of the panel up to three long needles are suspended on nylon lines, one or more hanging freely outside the string, and one resting against the string on the panel side. In some versions a permanent magnet attracts the needles suspended from different points at the top of the panel so that they hang at various angles. When the sculpture is in operation an electromagnet behind the panel is switched on and off by a timer at irregular intervals, attracting and then releasing the needles so that they strike the string in alternation. The sounds are high-pitched and when several of these works are exhibited together they create a magical twittering. A limited edition of one version of the Electromagnetic Musical was produced in Paris in ...