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Terry Fox

Bottled Air


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Terry Fox placed nine ordinary clear glass bottles on the floor for the installation Bottled Air. A plastic tube from an aquarium pump is carefully placed inside each bottle. The air from nine aquarium pumps creates a different pitch in each bottle.

Artist Statement

The installation Bottled Air (a pun on the poet Baudelaire) at the Mattress Factory was assembled by my friend and "sound colleague", Rolf Julius, as I was unable to be there in person. I felt this installation would be simple to construct (in terms of finding the materials locally) and could be arranged almost anywhere in the spaces available. The Idea for the singing bottles is an old one, for me. It developed from blowing across empty bottles by mouth. I then had the idea of having a single bottle standing by itself in an empty room and producing, un-aided, a note. This concept finally led to the use of clear plastic tubing to fill the bottle with air and an aquarium pump (silent) to produce a constant stream of air. I eventually discovered that the tubing could be inserted directly into the bottle and that each bottle, depending on its size and neck size, would produce a different sound. As the bottle is filled with air, the air must escape and does so through the neck, only to be filled again by the pump. This action produces a rhythmic action which manifests itself as a steady tone from the bottle. Depending on how these bottles are placed in the given space and their relationships to each other, various levels of harmonics and beatings can occur. The spectator's movements in the space also have a direct influence on the sound.


Visual Sound (Part II): Spring, 2001
About The Artist

Terry Fox was a prominent figure in post-minimal sculpture, conceptual art, performance, and video art. Fox participated in numerous national and international exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale.

More from this Artist

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Beautiful Violence

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Wall Blue/Wall Red

Pyramid: Humanity Excavates Sound

why pink, why yellow


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