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Robotic Guitars, Lyrics as Art Installation

Saadane Afif Power Chords installation

A beautiful art installation; pray they’re not programmed to play Stairway to Heaven. Saadane Afif's Power Chords, view of the installation at the Lyon Biennial 2005. Image by Galerie Michel Rein.

Maybe it’s something about music making in the digital age, the alienation of music technology. Or maybe there’s just something fun about mechanical objects making sound on their own. Whatever it is, artists lately have been fascinated by mechanical instruments. Here’s yet another one:

French artist Saadane Afif makes sometimes-chilly installations out of musical objects, like a minimalist collection of guitars and amps, strummed by mechanical apparatus, in his piece Power Chords. Or, in art world-speak, he…

…works with notions of displacement and contrast. His pieces, vibrating with multiple meanings, function by using collusion as their driving force. He employs objects, scale models, installations, sounds, and writing to classify the unclassifiable and mirror-in the work of art itself - the dialog that arises between the viewer and the artist. This dialog is continuously fueled by various allusions and is infiltrated on every side by historic, psychological, social, and cultural elements.

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