Performance with Gary Mentanko iLogs, m-Logs, laptops, wood and saw
Over the last few years we have become known for a distinctive range of wooden musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies.
Since 2004 we have been developing a range of portable instruments that mimic the desirability of hand held gadgets but are more rustic in appearance and obscure in functionality. Examples being the iLog Rustle which records up to 20 seconds of sound and reduces it into distorted fragments, the iLog Photosynthesiser which converts light into audio, and the m-Log (a wooden gestural computer interface).
We have performed across Europe with these instruments and they have featured in design books, magazines and blogs globally. Shifting between being desirable design objects, musical instruments or simply logs, they raise questions about the use of technology within live performance and their value as objects, their potential for mass-production and our refusal to do so.
Rather than standardise production in the face of working with uneven logs and unusual electronics we prefer to let these objects resist mass production and thus no two are ever the same. Embracing this limitation we invite participants to join us in making their own variation. Through this social process our customers become developers rather than consumers and our range of instruments continue to evolve, placing an emphasis on cultural and social capital rather than the physical.
The members of the Owl Project have their own unique Art practices but come together to create desirable and crafted artwork with perspective shifting focus; from commenting on the disposability of technology, to Interface Design, from questioning industrialisation and humanity’s relationship to the means and knowledge of production, to a strong reputation as Sound Art performers.
Faced with a rapidly growing demand for our instruments to be bought and used we have typically responded in a thought provoking manner, refusing to be drawn into an obvious cycle of production. By encouraging people to make their own Owl Project instruments we turn clients into producers and developers; a new cottage industry or social artwork?
Owl Project is a collaborative group of Manchester based artists who share interests in human interaction with technology and process-led art. The group currently consists of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons.
- Simon Blackmore, Tony Hall & Steve Symons artists, Manchester, UK
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