The Emotion Organ 2007

By | September 4, 2010

Emotion OrganSynaesthetic simulacrum machine
Participatory installation
Target audience: first person player
Video documentation

“Time has passed us by,” Maury said at once to me. “Our electronic organ is obsolete.”
“You’re wrong,” I said. “The trend is actually _toward_ the electronic organ because that’s the way America is going in its space exploration: electronic. In ten years we won’t sell one spinet a day; the spinet will be a relic of the past.”
“Louis,” Maury said, “please look what our competitors have done. Electronics may be marching forward, but without us. Look at the Hammerstein Mood Organ. Look at the Waldteufel Euphoria. And tell me why anyone would be content like you merely to bang out music.”

– We Can Build You by Philip K. Dick

Why would anyone want to merely bang out music, when you could have euphoria? Why be satisfied with an ordinary spinet when you could have The Emotion Organ? Developed over a rigorous three-year period in a small studio in Oslo The Emotion Organ is a synaesthetic, simulacrum machine that takes its public on a phenomenological journey through the physical senses. With the organ, you can hear colors and smell sounds. The Emotion Organ is also a time machine. It connects obsolete technology with the new, combining a 19th century organ with contemporary gadgetry to create a hybrid form that is part performance object and part scientific instrument for studying phenomenon. When playing the organ, various combinations of chords and foot pedals trigger cross-sensory events, such as the projection of visual patterns, vibrations, and/or emission of compelling aromas. Each viewer is invited to play the organ and come up with his or her own set of discoveries. As a sculptural object used to explore processual practices, Steggell’s The Emotion Organ is an exciting contribution to a contemporary artistic practice and redefinition of artistic roles from makers to facilitators that enable the exploration of complex relational, networked and social experiences.
(text by Michelle Teran)

June/July 2010: IMAA On.Fire and WARC Gallery,Toronto
September 2009: Ultima International Festival of Contemporary Music, Oslo
Oct/Nov 2008: ACM Multimedia 2008 Interactive Arts Program, Science World British Columbia, Vancouver
October 2007: Lydgalleriet, Bergen (solo)
June 2007: Norwegian Short Film Festival (festival artist)
April 2007: Close Encounters, Stockholm
January 2007: Norwegian Theatre Academy (solo)

Programming help: Piotr Pajchel

Funded by
Arts Council Norway
Østfold University College
Cultural Fund of the Municipality of Bergen
Norwegian Embassy in Canada