Beep-Boopatronics, the performance and installation

This project reflects an obsession with wires, communication, and out-of-date consumer products. In order to do so, this installation explores systems of translation and adaptation by dismantling objects which are on the outer edge of their usable life and imbuing them with new, but not always useful, functionality.

A non-exhaustive list of the materials involved includes: an FM radio, an electric chord organ, PVC tubes, rolls of hole punched paper, and large plastic pillows filled with air. Connected by a series of inputs and outputs, the system plays out an absurd comic moment where all of the machinery forces airflow and data into a small instrument, playing an indecipherable tune.

The objects in the exhibition are meant to be used in conjunction with each other, in order to make a large elaborate instrument. The instrument works a bit like this: the Beep-Boop Machine reads data in the form of punched rolls of paper, and converts that data into MIDI. The MIDI information is then sent along a cable over to the micro-controller which controls the servo motors. Eventually, the data is expressed when a specific servo motor depresses a key on the chord organ.

Separate from that, the chord organ also needs airflow in order to produce sound. Whether it is a manual hand-pump or the new set of external fans, airflow must be generated for the chord organ to make noise. The air stored in the air-pillows serves as a container for this energy to be deployed within the system, which can be manipulated to increase the volume of the organ.

But Does it Actually Work?

Yes! Below is a run through of what the installation looks like in action. There is also a much shorter version with more closeups here, and this is an example of the chord organ playing a composition by John Cage.


For making it this far down the page here is a little looped excerpt from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. This clip as well as another scene were projected adjacent to the installation during the exhibition, as a way to bring some frantic energy into the space if I wasn't there to pump air.

Max Lupo

Max Lupo is an artist who works hard (not really) to bring the most exotic and fascinating inventions to life. Tell him what you think by emailing art(at)

Subscribe to Max Lupo

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox.

you can also subscribe via regular RSS in your feed reader of choice