“Different spaces have different sounds. I feel they are not only sounds but also voices.”
Born 1978, Tainan, Taiwan
Tsai Kuen-Lin has spent much of his career exploring the possibilities of fusing shape with sound. His chosen medium is ordinary PVC pipe, the kind plumbers use. Sections of various length and curvature combine into quirky “instruments” that look like twisted organ pipes but work like physical organs—ears, noses or throats. There are no keys; rather than being played, these sculptures are designed to be played with—augmenting, combining and changing externally input or internally replayed sounds. These pass through a series of visually pleasing sculptural forms, and are drastically altered in the process. Familiar noises become eerie, or sounds we usually tune out become impossible to ignore. In each case the inner space is active, a co-“creator” with the artist, while the outer form remains motionless. In Sound Cube No. 3-5 (2011), a length of pipe twisted at intervals into tight cubes serves as a combination trombone and ear trumpet, distorting vocal input into unrecognisable output. Sheng (2011) is named for a Chinese reed instrument. “Music is organised sound,” the artist notes. This sculpture does its own kind of organising, with a little help from the listener: sounds of water emitted from three locations converge in what almost passes for a melody.