Materials: Steel, motor, tape recorder speakers, 30-second tape loop, capacitors, copper.

7 x 2 x 1 feet

Photo: Doug Laxdal

'Decay Machine' is an early mechanical sound sculpture. A turntable slowly rotates, carrying on it's surface a tape recorder, speakers and large capacitors. With each rotation (every 15 seconds) the copper commutators charge the capacitors and power the tape recorder. A tape-loop plays a spliced collection of female voice fragments from opera to Patti Smith, which blares from the speakers, then slowly decays, until it hits the copper connectors and charges up again.

Written on the steel surface of the exterior is a semi-fictional story about a twelve year old girl who sings show tunes in a church choir. Her only escape from her life is through song, but she is ostracised by this group for having divorced parents. She ultimately leaves the choir but discovers punk rock. The text starts at the top and winds around the sculpture to the bottom and can be read while moving counterclockwise around the sculpture (the opposite of the speakers rotation).