Fish playing brass horns

Keny Marshall’s ongoing exhibition at SPACE Gallery in Pittsburgh is called Apophenia and the eye-catcher is “electro-acoustic experiments”, a pair of small puffer fish in a glass bowl. By swimming, they compose a symphony of reconfigured brass horns, attached to bellows and placed throughout the gallery.


Two video cameras keep track of the fish bowl and transmit their signals to two monitors. The monitors are in turn monitored by eight photo cells, which are triggered whenever a fish swims across the video screen. When it happens, the signal is sent to one of the bellows, causing it to inhale and exhale, forcing air through its horn(s) and filling the gallery with a swelling tone. The continuous movement of the fish creates a continually shifting aural composition that reverberates throughout the gallery space.

0brasshorn.jpgFlashing LEDs indicate when the photo cells are working, and wires running to and from them place them in a legible context. For Marshall, this unveiling of high-tech mechanisms provides insight into their ideological constructions: the framework of thought that propels their creation. In a world hell-bent on microchips, nanotechnology and plastic shells to conceal it all, the artist’s approach is a playful protest against our rarely questioned immersion in man-made environments we can’t attempt to understand.

Apophenia continues through Dec. 31. , SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh.

Images by Ryan Sigesmund, via Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga.
More information and images in Structural Patterns, Digging Pitt and Pittsburg City Paper.

And fish! More fish: John Klima’s Fish, Ken Rinaldo’s Augmented Fish Reality, Communicating with electric fish, Bamboostic, Vehicle piloted by a fish and Fish, Plant, Rack.