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This exhibition turns artwork into an orchestra of instruments

This is so cool

If you’ve ever felt like simply looking at art wasn’t quite immersive enough, a new installation that lets you hear the artwork is something you might need to see.  

That’s the idea behind British multidisciplinary artist Oliver Beer’s new Vessel Orchestra, which turns 32 sculptures, vessels, and decorative pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art into a musical instrument.

How, exactly, does Beer play a bunch of priceless artefacts from the 8th century B.C. without accidentally turning them into dust? 

Well, he doesn’t hit or blow on them. Instead, Beer put tiny microphones inside the vessels to capture the natural frequency of each object — like when you stick a shell next to your ear and hear “the ocean.”

Those frequencies were then assigned to a keyboard, and when a key is pressed, it amplifies the object’s live feed, as well as a small LED light that indicates which object you’re hearing.

If you’d like to see Vessel Orchestra in action live, you’ll have to watch it live at The Met in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, playing through August 11. Otherwise, watch a short clip below.  

Photo: Paula Lobo.

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