Materials: Steel, motor, tape recorder speakers, 30-second tape loop, capacitors, copper.
7 x 2 x 1 feet
Photo: Doug Laxdal
'Decay Machine' is
an early mechanical sound sculpture. A turntable slowly rotates, carrying
on it's surface a tape recorder, speakers and large capacitors. With each
rotation (every 15 seconds) the copper commutators charge the capacitors
and power the tape recorder. A tape-loop plays a spliced collection of
female voice fragments from opera to Patti Smith, which blares from the
speakers, then slowly decays, until it hits the copper connectors and
charges up again.
Written on the steel surface
of the exterior is a semi-fictional story about a twelve year old girl who
sings show tunes in a church choir. Her only escape from her life is through
song, but she is ostracised by this group for having divorced parents. She
ultimately leaves the choir but discovers punk rock. The text starts at the
top and winds around the sculpture to the bottom and can be read while moving
counterclockwise around the sculpture (the opposite of the speakers rotation).