Lyman Allyn Art Museum Exhibits Aaron Taylor Kuffner's Gamelatron

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is excited to announce the opening of a new exhibition on Saturday, Feb. 27 by conceptual artist, sculptor and composer Aaron Taylor Kuffner. Encountering Resonance: Aaron Taylor Kuffner’s Gamelatron will be on view through May 23.  

A Gamelatron is a sound-producing kinetic sculpture presented as site-specific installations and stand-alone art works. Based on the Indonesian music tradition known as gamelan, they are made from bronze and iron instruments that are retrofitted with mechanical mallets on sculptural mounts. The elegant sculptures are connected to a computer that transmits digital compositions into an array of electrical pulsations, resulting in a ghostly, musical automaton. 

“We are thrilled to bring this immersive artistic experience to the Lyman Allyn,” said Museum Director Sam Quigley, who is known as an expert in Asian and Indonesian music in his own right. “It promises to actively engage our visitors in an intermingling of ancient art and music and modern technology.” 
While living for several years in Java and Bali, Kuffner learned to play the gamelan, researched the process of making the instruments, cataloged various tuning modalities, and developed his own electronic notation system, all the while gleaning gamelan’s cultural and spiritual significance. Shortly after returning to New York in 2008, he was awarded an Artist in Residency with renowned engineer and technologist Eric Singer at the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. Their collaboration culminated in the construction of the first Gamelatron in September 2008. 

Since then, Kuffner has built more than 60 Gamelatrons of various sizes, instrumentations and intentions. These works have been shown around the world in settings ranging from museums to retreat centers, spas, private homes, unique public spaces, educational institutions, cultural centers and exceptional events. Kuffner says that he views his works as an offering to the observer. 

The instruments, robotic mechanisms, and sculptural mounting systems are all handmade. The instruments used in Gamelatrons are archival, made by Kuffner or commissioned from master craftsmen in Java and Bali. All compositions are written and performed by Kuffner, and the scores are unique for every Gamelatron, and often composed after installation. 

The virtual opening reception will be on Friday, Feb. 26 from 6 – 7 pm. Please visit the calendar of events tab on lymanallyn.org for event registration information.  

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