Aaron Taylor Kuffner creates site-specific sonic, kinetic sculptures comprising an orchestra of handcrafted percussion instruments derived from the Indonesian gamelan and robotic technology. Kuffner, an American-born conceptual artist, has immersed himself in the study of gamelan music for the last decade. He both preserves and reinterprets this tradition.
Kuffner’s sculptures combine traditional bronze, brass and iron instruments with robotic mallets on ornate mounting systems that are connected to a computer network that transcribe his compositions. The compositions range from solitary reverberations of gongs and singing chimes to full ritual or storytelling orchestrations. Each object, robot, installation and musical composition the artist creates is unique and largely determined by the layout of the site.
Kuffner, a trained painter and metal sculptor, is a former street artist, theatre director, international DJ and music producer. Upon moving to Indonesia for six years and studying at the Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta, he embraced the traditions of both the gamelan and village life. After returning to the United States, and following an artist-in-residency with the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots in Brooklyn, New York, Kuffner began The Gamelatron Project, which concretized the concept of merging robotic technology and traditional gamelan instruments.
Kuffner has created more than twenty Gamelatron sculptures in the last seven years and his works have been installed worldwide, including two exhibitions in New York curated by Alanna Heiss, founder and former director of MoMA PS1. He has received grants and sponsorship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York; the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jakarta.
Born in New York, 1975 | Lives and works in New York
AARON TAYLOR KUFFNER
Gamelatron Kebangkitan: The Red Birds, 2015, bronze Balinese gongs, robotic mallets and powder coated steel:
Part 1: 3.1 x 9.3 x 1.1 feet/0.9 x 2.8 x 0.3 meters
Part 2: 2.2 x 9.3 x 1.1 feet/0.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 meters
Gamelatron Empat Bunga (4 Flowers), 2014, patinated steel, bronze Balinese gongs, dragon turtle cymbals, robotic mallets:
Canvas A: 76.4 x 52 x 19.7 inches/194 x 132 x 50 cm
Canvas B: 72 x 48.9 x 19.7 inches/183 x 124 x 50 cm
Canvas C: 68.5 x 70 x 19.7 inches/174 x 178 x 50 cm
Canvas D: 72 x 70 x 19.7 inches/183 x 178 x 50 cm