Tulna तुलना

By Ajay Kapur, Ph.D.

Presented at LACMA in Feb 2023 as part of the Art Coded Exhibition

Comparison as discovery, equity, and morality, is the main inspiration for Tulna.  When we make comparisons between two or more expressions, we discover the differences and similarities between them. This piece explores a dichotomy between wood and metal, traditional and modern, simplicity and complexity.

Comprised of natural materials, the components are used in mechanical, analog, and electrical ways. The juxtaposition between the colors is chosen to reflect the metals used in the piece’s inner workings. Motors are used to spin two dimensions of the canvas, while also spinning mechanisms on the piano to brush the strings. Solenoids are used in a “butterfly effect” to tap the strings in conjunction with the motors. The conversation between the piano and the painting is meant to evoke questions around the idea of comparison and force viewers to try and uncover the robotics behind them. Thank you to California Institute of the Arts Music Technology program students for their assistance in building the piano over the years: Eric Heep, Daniel Reyes, Jason Jahnke, and Luisa Pinzon with lifetime mentorship from kinetic sculpture artist Trimpin.