November 13, 2009

Alumnus collaborates on new contemporary art exhibit

Alumnus Ethan Rose collaborates on an art exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft that mixes glass with electronic composition.

Alumnus Ethan Rose, a composer based in Portland, is collaborating with artist Andy Paiko on a new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft titled Transference, an installation uniting glass with electronic composition.

Together, Rose and Paiko have created a kinetic-sound installation reinterpreting the glass armonica, a nearly forgotten instrument. Through movement, light, and music, Transference is an exploration of the material and aural properties of glass.

Rose is known for creating vast soundscapes with antiquated musical technologies. Through his installations, Rose calls attention to the physical experience of sound. A literal transference of ideas, of history and physicality, this exhibition represents a full collaboration at all stages of the design and fabrication processes. Paiko and Rose work together to select and place bowls in response to each vessel’s natural aural qualities; in essence, making the glass the third collaborator in this project.

Transference is inspired in part by the glass armonica, an instrument popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Mozart and Bach, among many others, composed works for the instrument, while famous figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette played it before it fell into obscurity. The armonica employed a series of glass bowls or goblets of varying size, water and friction to create a sound evoking a “singing” wine glass.

This exhibition combines the strangely ethereal qualities of the armonica with the visual and physical sensations of dozens of spinning glass bowls, wired to rotate in an intentionally random sequence. Instead of applying a wet finger to the glass to create sound, this exhibition relies on a pre-programmed electronic composition to induce glass vibrations. The shifting composition will unfold continually and without repetition during the run of the installation.

The exhibit runs November 19-January 9. Learn more about the exhibit and a program with the artists at