Billy Friebele

KINETIC

 

Nero Plays a Fiddle
Kreeger Museum

TRACES - Curated by Sarah Tanguy

Steel, Ventilation Duct, Solar Panels, Charge Controller, Marine Battery, Cables, Oil Barrel,
Wire, Aluminum, microcontroller, motors, IR sensor windshield wiper

10’ x 92” x 40”

Nero Plays a Fiddle

Nero Plays a Fiddle

Nero Plays a Fiddle

Nero Plays a Fiddle

Nero Plays a Fiddle is a solar-powered kinetic sculpture that produces two sonic loops. A motor rubbing against an upright bass string inside a ventilation duct creates an ominous drone. This circuit is powered by a battery which is suspended from the same bass string, to create tension.

The second loop is a two-note sequence played back and forth by a windshield wiper motor which is wired to a solar panel. When the sun shines, two strings that are held in tension by a suspended oil drum, are plucked repeatedly. The tempo varies with the intensity of the sun rays.

Nero Plays a Fiddle is made up of interlocking parts, yet rife with tensions and inconsistencies. This machine is inspired by a drawing for a speaking trumpet from 1671 by Samuel Moreland.  It is a reflection on our current condition, where technologies are locked in endless feedback loops, where environmental threats jeopardize a sustainable future, and where ineffectual leadership creates disillusionment. Nero played music while people suffered. President Trump sends tweets.