Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Art

When I was at Kendall last night I came to a realization. Every now and then I feel the need to play Pythagoras, one of the Kendall Band (Wikipedia, Article in The Tech), and as far as I know the only one of the three (originally four, one has been moved to the DeCordova after noise complaints) who is still there and functional.

I realized that playing the sculpture is a social act, a reaching out, making noise and music and potentially making a spectacle of oneself. It requires either curiosity or bravery or an oblivious desire to listen.

After I played it a bit I moved down the platform, but then I saw another guy (like so many people) pulling the handle back and forth but not sure what it was connected to or how to make it go. There's a trick to it nowadays since the handle is herky-jerky, and besides which one has to get the trick (apparently unclear from the instructions) of synchronizing one's movement with the pendulums the bellhammers are on. So I told him how. We had a little conversation. He had tears on his cheeks, I'm not sure why, but we still had a conversation and he worked the bells for a bit.

And I realized that as much as the evocative beauty of their music, which makes me picture sun on the Charles, the Kendall band brings people to interact with each other and their environment.

This is what people mean when they talk about community art.

Hopefully the rest of the sculptures get fixed someday.

No comments: