Finding Echoes

Found at the end of an article on the Vitruvius Program in Pamphlet Architecture 16 Architecture as a Translation of Music (Princeton Architecture Press) edited by Elizabeth Martin is this intriguing reference to Rosen, Micahel, editor. "Ears, Eyes, Legs and Arms" [a story from Mali] in Oxfam Book of Children's Stories: South and North, East and West (Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 1992), pp. 50-52.

The reference is not explicitly connected to the article about students creating sculptural instruments. But it you look at the illustrations and read the story you see a theme: how unconnected parts come to work together. In the story from Mali the teller recounts how the separate parts of the body were counselled by a mosquito to visit a wise chief to settle how to distribute an antelope. The wise man inflicts judgement:

Then the chief spoke. "I listen to your story and decided that I would punish all of you for being so mean and selfish. First I punished you by eating all of the antelope without sharing any of it with you. Now I am going to punish you all once more by joining you together so that something like this never happens again."

And he did

The parts of the body were furious with the chief for doing this, but they were even angrier with the mosquito for bringing them to see the chief. And that's why whenever the ears hear the whine of a mosquito, the eyes search for it, and the arms try and slap it. If, as often happens, the mosquito still whines even after the arms have slapped and smacked all over the place, the legs join in the hunt.
The theme of assemblages resonates with the pictures and comments on the work of the workshop participants.
When I look through it I can see the other side of my instrument but when I blow, it echoed! Does that mean I'm hearing the other side?" (Elisabeth [Vitruvius program workshop participant])
John Cage would have been amused. Pamphlet Architecture 16 is dedicated in memoriam to Cage.

And so for day 2198
19.12.2012