Huffa Birds,


a kinetic sound
by Dan Senn
Bludny Kamen
House of Art
Opava, The
Czech Republic
April 8-May 18, 2008




One of Dan Senn's inflatable, flapping sound sculptures in the Oratorium, Opava.

Twelve Huffa Birds, Headless (in Czech, Dvanáct bláznivych ptákü) is an installation of 12 inflatable, flapping sound sculptures. Suspended throughout the exhibition space, the birds flutter, flap, expand and contract in a sonic environment of stereophonic bell rings, scrapes, street preaching and Portland traffic.

In the classical music sense, Twelve Huffa Birds, Headless is a "composed" installation. The birds, invented for this exhibition, function beyond the kinetic-sculptural as musical instruments for which a musical score has been written. In this respect, Dan Senn's art is often distinguished from other work in this field as it is informed from his ongoing identity as a composer of experimental classical music.

Twelve Huffa Birds, Headless has no intended meaning. The focus from the start was to fill the Bludny Kamen space with bird-like and kinetic sound sculpture which, in some sense, would connect with the work of the Czech sculptor Kurt Gebauer who's playful and wonderful work is well represented in the city of Opava and is part of the overall exhibition.

Dan Senn encourages the individual interpretations patrons bring to his art as his creative intentions are usually limited to working playfully with interesting materials while not insisting on any fixed metaphoric content. It has long been his conviction that meaningful art most often arises from that which has no intended meaning at all.

All the sounds heard in this installation arise from the Huffa Bird sound sculptures. Within each is a 4-inch woofer filled with epoxy, at the center of which is a metal loop. The woofer, using very low frequencies, is used to move the wings above, pump up the white bags below, and broadcast the sounds of Portland traffic, a Portland State University quad preacher, and ringing sounds from a bell which can be seen above one of the Huffa Birds in the photos and video. There is no additional sound except for those made by the air in-take and out-take valves also within the body of the birds. It has, of late, become necessary to mention this as many knowledgeable patrons have insisted that additional sounds are being broadcast secretly within the space. One entire blog was dedicated to the reviewers disgust over artists, myself included, who cheat on the sound.

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