Made On Earth
Gravity Harps for Björk
Hard enough, it turns out. Then the project
changed from a film into a live tour. There
were so many prototypes and complete redesigns. It expanded to 30 feet in diameter and
20 feet tall — a 38-pendulum behemoth with
I had tried to stop making musical machines
but kept getting offers I couldn’t refuse. I
thought I’d quit this crazy business if I could
just pull off one last job — the big one. Then
I met Björk at the MIT Media Lab. She needed
some musical robots. This was big.
Björk had an amazing vision. She wanted
to create technologies that harness forces of
nature to play music. She wanted to use gravity to play a new song, “Solstice,” preferably
with a giant pendulum. “Solstice” has unusual
time signatures and a nonrepeating structure.
I couldn’t play it with one big metronome,
but maybe I could use a few pendulums and
deconstruct the patterns like a Fourier transform. How hard could it be?
24 Make: makezine.com/29