top of page

Lost Object | Pursuit of Perfect Sound

PennDesign | Arch 750 | Kutan Ayata | Fall 2016 | In collaboration with Angela Huang

Paraficitonal objects are things that tend to walk to fine line between real and fiction. The current obsession with false truths and alternative facts leads us to think twice about things in our world that are truth. If we were to define truth as what is real, we would only see half of the things in front of our own eyes. Lies become truth if they are told enough.

The ojects seen here are collected through studying the histories of sound manipulation throughout time. Each step of the way is a cog in the machine of what we call the pursuit of perfect sound.

Beggining with the collection of artifacts from a once existing invention, the story unravels through time from Da Vinci through German classicist music, then through the lens of fine art, and finally to the reinterpretation and reimagination of the machine today. Our goal is to uncover the truth and dispel the falsehoods behind the making of the perfect sound machine, the first auto-tune if you will.

Da vinci, though his years of object making, created plans for great machines. War machines, torture machines, flying machines and what we found as sound machines. Either created as a way to dispel enemies through sound, to please the lord as David once did, or to truly attempt to create a sound machine so perfect, that it challenged the human voice, Da Vinci strove to create a new sound through mechanical means.

His inventions mostly failed to be realized, but through research and future development over time. we have found that his invention sparked many theorists and musical instrument craftsman to finish his job of creating the perfect sound machine.

German musical theorist Sebastian Virdung looked into illustrating instruments and documenting their classifications. This is the oldest printed source on the subject, and includes a wide variety of unknown and simply bizarre instruments.

Sebastian Virdung was the first but the second, possibly more inspiring was that of Michael Praetorius. The creator of the first contemporary musical encyclopedic record, his addition to the music world inspired the creation of all types of varieties of instruments and sound producing machines.

After looking to both Virdung and Praetorius' manuscripts, we have stumbled upon a single outlier. An instrument that is tied to both as an unknown source and unknown origin instrument. One with no history or future but only myth. This instrument is seen possibly as the first interpretation of Da Vinci's perfect sound machine.

After the discovery of the object in question, we pondered its validity and its physical identity. Future iterations began to appear in art from around the world in all different styles and movements of fine art, specifically painting. From classic Dutch still-life painting to the Dadaists. Each step along the way included a new interpretation and a new perspective on the illusive instrument.

Unfortunately, the only true record we have is through these paintings and digital reproduction. The first images in this series shows the remains of a single part of the instrument. The bottom left cog-shield is used to project one of the main cogs in the machines belly. Its purpose was to decorate the exterior with a representational texture of the area of origin and to protect the inner workings of the machines moving parts.

Please enjoy the collection of images below as the most recent interpretations of the Perfect Sound Machine.

bottom of page