Miles Meets Sam
An internship from October 2020
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Our heritage of Renaissance mechanics and inventions is something worth serious consideration in our domain of instrument builders. On one hand, the machines themselves embody a radical moment of mechanical integration and innovation. There are many interesting, non-electrical mechanisms to be rediscovered. On the other hand, the machines themselves are generally perceived as secondary to the profiles of iconic inventors.

These Renaissance lone-geniuses lay the groundwork for our modern relationship with technology - it will save us ie. corona virus vaccine, climate change solutions. At the echelon of influence, they lay the groundwork for our archetype character, the lone (male) genius. The popularity of this cult was made evident in November last year, for example, when there was a massive Da Vinci retrospective put on. The status of him disturbs me because it really sets a template for this character to reign in today's society: think Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, Pablo Picasso, Einstein, Johann Sebastian Bach, Heidegger. I condemn the precise predetermination of these characters' profiles. If we're going to worship a selection of individuals, why add to the damage and exclude everything other than white males from the position?

I think our society has an appetite for the lone genius; we frame people that could fit the profile because it builds upon the institution of giving people the aspiration that they can work hard as an individual and become one of those in power. The masses aspire to be their oppressors rather than overturn them and make changes collectively. It's effective because it stops common people from working together and believing in collective power, creatively, socially and politically, thus nullifying a very real threat to the status quo. In this sense, there's a lot of dubiousness around the my area of work, as a creative, that deeply bothers me. I work to dismantle the perception of the lone creative. I believe in collaboration with others and in working with materials in a new, intuitive and experimental way that opposes the classic process of making a manipulating materials to a genius plan. Rather, the materials decide what it wants to be in the maker's hands. They respond to its properties, almost acting on its behalf, or at least in collaboration. I love to take new materials and effects then improvise around them. It's surprising and exciting and genuine! It excludes the ego.
This experimental process is more than idealistic. I think it so often leads to surprising new results and effects. I'm sure Sam can vouch for this approach to instrument making.

Fortunately, there's more to inventions, mechanics and machines than a political/social conspiracy of power. The experience of mechanical satisfaction, efficiency and beauty has no gender, no age, no race, no status. A machine should be autonomous from individuals. Sound, even more so. It upsets me that inventions and machines have been hijacked in the process of iconising individuals, but I think behind the icons are timeless gems of mechanical interest and satisfaction to be rediscovered.