Just 9 months after opening Molecule, we wanted to celebrate being part of Santa Fe’s amazing creative community and shared fresh ideas. Thank you all who came to visit.
We had a great time with Andrew Baron playing his handmade Theremin. Ages ago, I used to be a New Music terrestrial radio DJ in Florida, that strange non-commercial music genre, which still exists with festivals around the world born out of John Cage’s influence, involving experimental instruments, electronic music, sound art, classical as well as jazz and world influences. I was still involved with New Music with an internet radio gig, and had heard there was a Theremin player in Santa Fe.
Andrew is a long-time devotee of innovative early technologies. In the late nineties, he was irretrievably inspired by Theremin An Electronic Odyssey, a documentary about the inventor of the first electronic synthesizer instrument and his subsequent life after he was abducted by the KGB as well as a history of his instrument, featuring inventors Leon Theremin and Robert Moog and Clara Rockmore, theremin virtuoso. It was not only the remarkable story and masterful filmmaking, but watching Clara’s hands and hearing the magnificent result, that brought Andrew back for three more showings.
Noting Bob Moog’s mention of his first published theremin design, Andrew determined to recreate Moog’s ground-breaking Model 201 theremin of 1954. Andrew made a few changes to the basic 201 design, including an upgraded audio section (based on a period-correct Fender amp circuit), along with improved linearity based on advice from Dr. Moog, and a 2 inch oscilloscope to facilitate setting the tone colors.
Also for The Franklin Institute, Andrew restored the famous Ca. 1800 Maillardet Automaton, the drawing and poem-writing clockwork figure that inspired Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which in turn led to the 2012 Academy Award winning Martin Scorsese film HUGO. In his other worlds, Andrew is a paper engineer (designer of pop-up books), with a number of innovative, award-winning books to his credit. Adrew draws freely from his machine experience when creating books. His published work can be seen at Popyrus.
The theremin at Molecule brought a lot of curiosity and fun. Visitors were encouraged to try it out. Andrew has restored a number of RCA Theremins for museums and individual collections, including the RCA at The Franklin Institute Science Museum, which had been out of service for more than 56 years. Further distinguishing the theremin from the traditional world of mechanical musical instruments (reeds, woodwinds, horns, strings, percussion, etc.), the theremin is the only instrument that is played without the performer ever touching it. To quote period advertising literature from RCA:
Simple and graceful movements of the hands produce and control the tone.
Simon de Aguero, besides being an architect, plays the Berimbau and does Capoeira. The berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument, a musical bow, from Brazil. Originally from Africa where it receives different names, the berimbau was eventually incorporated into the practice of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, the berimbau (the soul of capoeira) leads the capoeiristas movement in the roda—the faster the berimbau is playing the faster the capoeirista moves in the game. It was interesting to merge the berimbau with the theremin.
Simon is a fabric architect. His elegant constructs appear as tent-like canopies or translucent vertical and horizontal intersections lightly tethered to the landscape like atmospheric currents. Simons’ work redefines space in subtle ways that combine elements of both architecture and sculpture, as he approaches fabric as a delicate building material, constructing spatial relationships that beautifully integrate his interests in architecture (he holds a Master of Architecture degree from The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture), sculpture, and design. His structures, often made of fabric in combination with adobe or other organic materials, suggest a nomadic, tenuous relationship with the environment, like clouds passing overhead. For Simón studying, experiencing and designing quality spaces is a life long passion.
Matthew Gray intrigued us all with his candy making lab, as he demonstrated how his candy photograms happen. For photographer Matthew Gray, candy is the medium for self-expression. Sculptural forms are cast in sugar. His Stupid Candy series, is a collection of stunning iridescent luminous images of candy found, and candy sent to him from other countries. Mat was drawn to the translucency of candy and its ability to capture and absorb light, making it an ideal subject for cameraless photography. This series was printed by Adamson Editions Studio, Washington, DC, and published by Richard Levy Editions, Albuquerque, NM. Stupid Candy photograms can be found in the Microsoft Collection, Philips de Pury and Company Collection, and private collections worldwide.
In other works, Mat uses perfume bottles, fluorescent light tubes, hand axes, rubber tires, and even an apple core are just some of the objects he has fashioned into candy sculptures by making latex molds of the actual objects. It’s a laborious process, and the result is a mind-boggling collection of artifacts arranged, somewhat haphazardly, into a big, sticky concoction of rainbow colors. “It’s everyday stuff, for the most part,” Gray told Pasatiempo. “I don’t have a central theme. I’m not about something other than just jump in and see what comes out.”
Axle Contemporary and Slurp added so much energy and metal!