/ creation-2 The Electrolab CNC. © Jean-Philippe Renoult

“Fablab Opera”, let yourself be shaken by the sound of machines

Having written for Makery the soundtrack of lab machines, Jean-Philippe Renoult composed “Make Sound, binaural Fablab Opera” for one of the most prestigious art radio program in the world.

What of artists being involved in fablabs? In March 2016, when we started having discussions with Jean-Philippe Renoult, sound artist supporter of field recording, about a column for Makery on the sound of fablab machines, we had no idea that one day an opera would conclude the project…

Jean-Philippe Renoult at ZKM in November 2017 with his shruti-box. © ADC

Makesound began in April 2016 on Makery with the Woma laser cutter in Paris. Jean-Philippe Renoult, who takes his microphone with him everywhere throughout the world when he is not performing on his amplified shruti-box (an ancient Indian instrument with bellows, kind of harmonium without a keyboard), remixes the Bettencourt affair wiretapping as well as the sound of a 118m high and 347,000 m3 gasometer… For Makery, he created the Makesound column, a binaural immersion (i.e. for the layman, listening in 3D), at the heart of makers’ machines. 3D printer, vinyl cutter, CNC and even glass melting furnace are thus magnified by the artist. Each of the eight episodes distilled on Makery was designed as the portrait of a machine in a specific place, making the soundtrack of labs.

And then, on Sunday January 7, 2018, as part of the weekly program Kunstradio (art-radio) of the Austrian national radio ORF, a long version of these recordings was broadcast, entitled Make Sound, binaural Fablab Opera. An opera of makers’ machines!

To be listened to with headphones, the fablab opera starts gently, between clinking and almost drum rolls. And then it grows louder and the sound of machines surrounds us, infiltrates us and surpasses us. “I dismantled the machines one by one, explains Jean-Philippe Renoult, I took them to pieces and carried out a redesign: I reconstituted a kind of meta-machine, like a Frankenstein of machines! I didn’t want to make an accurate portrait of lab machines but use binauralization as a means to hear something bigger than a machine from an impossible listening point.”

The most informed will still identify the sound of the CNC or the perforating machine. But is this really useful? Make Sound, binaural Fablab Opera goes beyond the world of fabrication workshops. The artist takes us on board an oppressing, Orwellian, fantastic futuristic sound journey. The CNC beast roars. The binaural sound feeds the sound loop that literally wraps you up when listening, between Blade Runner, Planet of ApesSoylent Green… A totally unheard of sound universe that uses the sound material of fablabs for the first time and therefore really lives up to its opera title. We are very proud at Makery to have welcomed the series and the artist!

Listen to the “Fablab Opera” on the Kunstradio website

Listen to the Makesound columns again

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