An Orchestra of Sewing Machines
Sewing machines like that of https://www.sewinginsider.com/ are generally used to create sewn goods such as bags and apparels. But what can these machines do apart from sewing? One Canadian artist namely Martin Messier used sewing machines with software and micro-controllers to create an experimental symphony with these machines. The Canadian composer arranged his own melodic factory with several old Singer sewing machines from the 50s to 70s. It was called the Sewing Machine Orchestra.
As a media artist, Messier utilizes day to day utilitarian items to produce electronic tune, compose a good music with an unusual twist. Rather than putting a focus on single channel specifically, he builds his practice in experimentation and electro-acoustic tune, which welcomes the viewer to turn into an auditory explorer.
Messier who is a member of the Perte de Signal, a Montreal digital art collective, says “I’m interested in objects that can be manipulated and which have a sonic potential. When I came across the Singer sewing machine, I realized right away that it had that sonic potential.”
Sewing Machine Orchestra is as practically fascinating as it is in principle. By making use of the wheel of every single sewing machine as a potentiometer, a device comparable to the dial that regulates the volume on audio gear, Messier conducts the sewing machines all at once to generate a tone midway between discord and melody, between ancient and modern technology.
Messier depended on a mixture of Ableton Live, MaxMSP, and Maxforlive, and microcontrollers that were fabricated by fellow artist Samuel St-Aubin, a friend of his and a collaborator as well. The clash of automated beats that are yielded, lights and the analog being present, antique sewing machines offers a meditation of the connection between sound or audio and the items that generate the sound, a repetitive theme in the work of Messier as well as multi-functionality.
According to Messier, “When you have something in front of your eyes, you tend to use it for one intended use only, neglecting its full potential. My idea is to push the imagination beyond its everyday territory.”