Poemophone. Tracey Cockrell.


Sound artist and sculptor Tracey Cockrell  has repurposed vintage typewriters as sound sculptures for her current exhibition at WorkSound (820 SE Alder), Poemophone.

Like kalimbas, African thumb pianos, Cockrell’s poemophones have keys that are hammered pieces of metal.  Unlike the kalimba, the poemophone is “played” with all ten fingers (see video, below). And unlike kalimba, the poemophone’s keys are each stamped with a letter, allowing for the interplay of word and sound. One might ask, for example, what does the word “poem” sound like? It will sound differently if each letter is played individually rather than all at once. And of course each poemophone is tuned differently. Cockrell calls them “outlaw” tunings.

Cockrell has distributed these sculptural sound pieces (that sound like this) to a number of collaborators including poet Jorn Ake, writer M. C. Boyes, musician Tim Cooper, sound artist Ethan Rose, artists Peter Suchecki & Lauri Twitchell, and furniture Maker Jeff Wolf, and has tracked some of their work and her own with the poemophones on her blog.

The installation at WorkSound is to include all visual scores generated by Cockrell and her collaborators, the Poemophone series, and installations serving as performance stations. And she’s scheduled collaborative performances on July 14-16. (Tickets sold in advance and at the door.)



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