Looking for a site to show Charles Goldman when he is in town, I finally picked the famous Kendall Band - Kepler, Pythagoras, Galileo designed, fabricated and installed by Paul Matisse.
In 1987, Paul Matisse installed in Cambridge, Kendall T Station, the The Kendall Band a musical sculpture. Passengers can move handles located on each platform and will activate hammers that strike the bells. The instruments are suspended in arches between the tracks. Made of aluminum, teak, steel, the band consists of :
· Kepler a 55-inch aluminium ring that hums for five minutes after it is struck by the large teak hammer above it.
· Galileo a sheet of stainless steel that imitates a train roaring in when a train roars in.
· Pythagoras twin sets of eight bells of the type of the new memorial bell in Washington.
The Kendall Sculptures are very much the thing I love to show to a tourist in town. Being a student at MIT, I am not afraid of technical objects, I find them sexy. Bringing technicality into the T station where it is full of machines and the metallic sound resonating with its own voice: the sound of the train, the aluminum as a metal and the reverberation of the vibrato into the station, is exciting. It is definitely unique and as Paul Matisse says: “it is MIT’s baby”.
Social challenge: talk to strangers
It seems contradictory to what my grand ma told me: do not talk to strangers. Well, artists are different, they want things to be different. Paul Matisse wants strangers to talk to each others and maybe meet. He also thinks music can help that to happen. Passengers waiting for their trains can play with the sculpture. Sometimes, strangers can meet: can look at each others, can smile, maybe play together? I believe that one can cut herself from the visuals, but it is harder to do with sounds. So one can notice the change of sounds. Because propagating the sounds throughout the entire station is not directed towards one person, people can then feel free to respond or ignore the gesture. The inside is invaded, but somehow no pressure is put on bringing it outside. One can choose. And sometimes strangers can meet.
The Kepler strikes an F sharp to go with the B minor of the Pythagoras.
No picture for this post so you can then fully discover it when you are in Boston!
For more info, read the article Kendall Sculptures Bring Music, Talk to Strangers, The Tech, Volume 115, Number 66, 1996.