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 Humunculus
(the spelling is correct, no typo!)

 audio activated machine 1987-1989

 
 
 Humunculus
 Humunculus, Fun Club, Hamburg 1987
     
 

Here is how it all began.

Way back when,
I was repeatedly asked by some friends (I had just built some heavy-duty interior for their new club) to create an industrial performance for their new venue. I think they expected to get something weird with anglegrinders and welders. In theese days I considered such acting to be completely out but I was, on the other hand, very interested in doing a solo performance. Something I had never done before. At this point I developed the idea to build a machine that would get up on that stage instead of me and that would do something there that people had never seen before.

Right around that time I had for the first time read about chaos theory and about self-organizing phenomena. A very exiting german book "Ordnung aus dem Chaos" had just been published by K.H.Shulten. Many exiting aspects of chaos were discussed in this book. One very simple mechanical experiment was mentioned here:
the double pendulum
this simple mechanic setup served as the main idea for the machine I planned to build for the upcomming performance.
Have a look at theese pages that very nicely explain what a double pendulum is:

http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/~mkwan/pendulum/pendulum.html
http://www.ifm.ethz.ch/meca/applets/doppelpendel/dPendulum.html
http://www.treasure-troves.com/physics/DoublePendulum.html
http://www.control.utoronto.ca/people/profs/bortoff/pend2.html

It took me a couple of weeks to build the basic mechanics and electronics. In the end Humunculus was equipped with four different arms. All inspired by the double pendulum but still very different. For all arms the inner joint was not just a loose joint but a motor that was activated by some kind of audio input. Mounted to the endpoint of three arms was a very narrow and stong spotlight. The fourth arm was build to drag a welding electrode over a metal surface in order to draw some nice big arcs.

The electronics were designed to accept a two-channel audio signal and MARQ LATIV wrote some loveley soundtracks for this and for later preformances. We had ancient fun when we were testing out the machines characteristics by hooking up various instruments to the machines audio inputs. For example MARQ would control one big arm and the welder with his "Prophet 2000" (very hip sampler in that time) while I was playing the bassguitar on the other big arm. The small arm was then able to integrate theese signals...






humunculus long exposure
long exposure

humunculus at TZW
at TZW


Here is a detailed (well, I hesitate to write c.v.) agenda of events and happenings relatet to this machine.



humunculus at the fun club