translations Custom-made Music Boxes that Play Patterns found in Birch Trees
Music Box Prototype
translations Exhibition Rendering
translations Exhibition Rendering
translations Methods and Process- Step 1
translations Methods and Process- Step 2
translations Methods and Process- Step 3


Different species interpret varied information from the same object, due to their distinct physiologies. For example, while humans see a “fish” as shapes, textures and colors, the mantis shrimp sees the same “fish” as ultra-violet light being emitted and absorbed. Regardless of the limitations of our human physiology, this project suggests that we can experience objects at different levels of perception, thus creating new and unexpected realities out of common objects. The purpose of this project is to invite the audience to think beyond what we can see and make unexpected connections.

This project unveils the unexpected connection between trees and music. I’ve translated the all-over pattern of short lines that surrounds a birch tree (something visual and tangible) into music (something abstract and audible). This translation--an example of unexpected connections--is achieved by interpreting the distinct markings around a birch tree as a score within a pentatonic scale. I do so by modifying toy crank music boxes.

First, the original cylinder (a metal roll, marked by bumps that make up the melody) is replaced with a custom cylinder, which holds a scaled-down version of the tree pattern. Second, the modified music box is mounted onto a panel and attached to a motor that automates the music playing. I will then repeat this process to create a grid of 36 music boxes. The result will be a never-before-heard symphony that is dissonant, abstract and unexpected.

Finally, on the opposite side of the gallery, I will create a small “forest” of 36 birch tree trunks, so that the audience can walk amongst, see, touch, and smell the trees, in order to experience the same objects in several different ways. The objective is to uncover melodies, hidden in patterns created by nature. In doing so, I hope to ignite a sense of curiosity and make the audience wonder in which other ways we could experience familiar objects. If you can hear a tree, instead of seeing it, what else is possible?

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