Five Introverted Machines – Disturbing Tape Head Orchestra

Five Introverted Machines

Stephen Cornford dedicates his experimental artistic work to the production of sounds through the employment of various manipulated objects and techniques. In his recent installation known as Five Introverted Machines, five identical first-generation Philips cassette players are set up on a white wall. The player needles have been disconnected, made clearly visible, and set up to broadcast the devices’ own electromagnetic emissions. So, each introverted machine takes on the role of an instrument in an orchestra, although in this case the orchestra is very small: all the elements participating in this (disturbing) symphony retain their own personality, found in the different shades of noise produced. As in other works by the English artist, we can see a clear invitation to let the audience lead in exploring the area of intersection between music and sculpture, and also to think about the connections between the dimensions of space and sound. Those connections are implicit in many common everyday tools, as is the case with Cornford’s sensitively constructed objects that represent living matter remade.

Vito Campanelli