Tag Archives: Oil

This installation makes music out of crushing your belongings


Who knew slowly-crushed toys, electronics and accessories could make such haunting tunes?


Dmitry Morozov— who many refer to as ::vtol::—has returned yet again with another interactive installation. Just days after directing a symphony of robots, the artist is now looking to destroy any object that might happen to be on a person for the sake of sound composition. The unique project, called Oil, is comprised of five 10-ton hydraulic presses that crush practically anything, albeit an expensive smartphone, a pair of cheap glasses or anything in between.

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In the process of destruction, a special microphone records the sounds made as the object undergoes deformation, and in just a few minutes, a computer algorithm transforms them into a 20 minutes album. Aside from a customized mic, each Oil station consists of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), a Mac Mini, and an Apple CD drive. As visitors approach the shop press, they are instructed to steadily pump levers which bear down on an object (in some cases, even a maneki-neko figurine), as it expectedly emits crunching and cracking sounds.

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“The project is intended to provoke visitors into spontaneously ridding themselves of material consumer objects for the sake of creating their own individual work of art via deprivation, divestment and destruction. Sound has been taken as the chief medium here with good reason, since sound art is perhaps the least material and most abstract of all genres in art,” ::vtol:: explains. “The technological aesthetic involved constitutes an ironic attempt to make the process of art production into a technological process, but the result, unlike that of mass production, demonstrates a contrary phenomenon – this is a work involving programming and code in the context of generative art, with the potential to broaden the range of instruments at art’s disposal.”

::vtol:: set parameters for how the sound would be processed using Pure Data, Max/MSP and AppleScript software programs. However, as you can imagine, the way in which each thing breaks is unique — especially when a 10-ton hydraulic press is at the helm.

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So what do the participants get in exchange for destructing their possessions? The sound production is automatically recorded onto an audio CD and then handed over to the participant, of course. For those wondering if anyone would contribute to the ATmega328 driven installation, over the course of its exhibit commissioned by Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 1,574 tracks were distributed. Looks like ::vtol:: crushed it yet again. (Literally.)

Those interested in learning more can head over to the project’s official page here.