Why do these exist?

Living Instruments poses answers to these questions:

1) Do we really need art - what if it needed us back?

2) What if to save art, we have to destroy it?

3) What night music look like?

At face value, these are sculptures with a base layer of a broken musical instrument. The instruments contain installations that include living plants. As you water them to keep the plants alive, the instruments eventually change, and will potentially decay. Same goes for giving them sun. If you don’t take care of the individual plants, they will die. But if you do take care of them, the instrument will probably be destroyed.

The wooden instruments themselves were once alive—they came from living trees. To create music, which is an expression of life, those trees had to give their lives. So, Living Instruments puts life back into that which has died.

Also, just like a musical instrument, the Living Instruments require regular attention. With your tuba or flute or whatever, you have to practice it, or you’ll get rusty and the instrument will lack the life that comes from having music in it. With Living Instruments, if you don’t tend to them, they will show you what not practicing looks like from the perspective of the neglected piano that you can just never find time to practice. Also, if you have a living instrument and are not caring for it, perhaps you are also getting rusty, in a slightly different way.

When the instrument decays or when a plant dies - how you feel when you witness that is part of the art.

During the moments it comes out of the bell of a tuba or the belly of a guitar, music is a momentary expression of the musician’s soul. Living Instruments aims to show what that expression might look like if we could somehow freeze it and wrap living tissue around it. Imagine each living instrument as a vision of a song, a lick or even just one mournful note.

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Living Instruments

Near 24th and Mission
San Francisco, CA, 94110