The Auracle

THE AURACLE IS A PIECE OF PUBLIC ART IN DEVELOPMENT with MAX BAILLIE and TIM VINCENT-SMITH

Imagine a sculpture suspended in trees in a forest. It is a cube made from pianos otherwise headed for the scrap yard. Hanging from cables anchored in surrounding trunks, its hyper-resonant soundboards and strings, still intact, respond to the sounds of the forest.

The Auracle is a sonic cabin which naturally amplifies the sounds around it: wind, birds and other animals, sounds you make yourself, as well as the forest’s natural acoustic. This beautifully-crafted chamber is an artist’s response to the quiet death of the piano in modern domestic culture: its materials are sourced from the steady stream of instruments heading for scrapyards, pianos at the end of their lifespan that are no longer able to hold their tuning and, in want of expensive restoration, are sent for destruction.

The sculpture enhances the visitor’s listening in a world where the human ear is conditioned to filter out sound rather than focus in on it. Visually, the poised disjunction between ‘cultured’ piano wood and ‘natural’ forest wood echoes the balance between natural and unexpected sounds. There is also a sense in which the pianos are returning to their origin. Forests and pianos are alike in that they hold stories across generations. Auracle is a place where stories are laid to rest and reborn.

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