Poseidon’s Music Box kinetic solar sound sculpture on the way to Woodford Folk Festival 2018

Exciting news that my Poseidon’s Music Box kinetic solar sculpture will be on exhibition at Woodford Folk Festival this year!

You can also catch it next in Xmas mode at Tugan Lights Up on Sat Dec 1st.

The video is from this year’s Buskers by the Creek, huge thank you to Cindy and the team for letting him spin and busk alongside the other musicians.

Give my page below a like if you want to see the T-Rex I’m currently making.
Guy Cooper Sculptor



Local award-winning sculptor Guy Cooper creates giant solar-powered music box calling on Poseidon, god of the sea to save us from coal mining in Australia to #StopAdani and save the Great Barrier Reef.

I have built a giant solar-powered kinetic music box sculpture to raise funds for #stopAdaniGoldCoast. We had a great weekend down at Buskers by the Creek in Currumbin. A big thanks to Laurinda, Suzette, Matt and Warren from Stop Adani Gold Coast for coming down and helping spread the good word.
#sculpture #sculptor #PoseidonsMusicBox #artsactivsm


The new single from the sculpture Poseidon’s Music Box (Guy Cooper Sculptor) is released today! ‘Call to Poseidon’ is a call to the god of the sea Poseidon, to come and save us all from the proposed Adani mine in Queensland. This song uses the melody from the sculpture music box.

ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS SONG ARE GOING TO OUR LOCAL Stop Adani Gold Coast group to continue the fight, so please add, follow, stream and share the song below on Spotify, iTunes and all major distribution channels. (If you want to donate more, you can do so via bandcamp

Our own government doesn’t even believe in climate change haha… but we can all do something to help. Here is my latest effort using the skills I have.

I wrote this song for all the hardworking and passionate activists that fight every day in this country to do what is right. Our government has its head up it’s ass and it is up to all of us to do the right thing even if our leaders are more fixated on $ than our futures. Give them love and give them peace. Respect the land and we’ll share the seas. Hello sunrise, goodnight to dark skies.

A huge thank you must also go to the following wonderful local musicians that gave their time to come and collaborate on this beast.

Poseidon’s Music Box Sculpture – Main melody
Nathan Williams (Bowser, Kwerkshoppe, Diana Anaid) – Drums
Luke Reichelt (Reichelt) – Guitar, Vocals
Mickey Van Wyk (Mickey) – Guitar, Vocals
Kirk Mesmer (Sook) – Vocals
Cleo Cottone – Vocals
Steve Williamson – Vocals
Michael Simms (My Inner Hyde) – Vocals
Scott Saunders – Vocals
Ike Campbell – Vocals
Kara Towner – Vocals
Gold Coast Home of the Arts HOTA Choir including – Joan Ellerby, Ann Whitlow, Tiffany Storey, Linda Robertus, Carolyn Parker, Christina Tan, Frances Cummins, Katherine Edwards, Chrissy Carter, Gabrielle Vining, Allison Forner, Suzette Sheperd, Karen Millar, Marta Kashyrina, Laka Selby, Vera Thomson, Lynne Ohehir, John Ohehir, Susan Merritt, Nerida Sayer, Cheryl Wheeler, Kiki Loch-Wilkinson, Janet Cahill, Carla Dalton, Fiona Hollinger.
and myself Guy Cooper (Charlie Rebel, Mickey, Sook, Reichelt, Too Right Mate) – Lyrics/Melody, vocals, piano, organ, bass, percussion, violin.

Patterns and connections can be found in nature everywhere we look; the cylindrical motion of life is seen on a large scale in our solar system and in the smallest cycle of growth and rebirth on our planet. Nowhere is this seen more so than the in coral reef systems and our own Great Barrier Reef. The advancement the industrial revolution has impacted the planet in many ways, as we fight to keep our planet growing, humans need to find a way for life and our construct to grow together.
May this coral themed music box call the god of the sea Poseidon to come save us all.


Local Gold Coast artist, sculptor, musician and producer Guy Cooper has built a giant solar-powered, kinetic, Poseidon themed, music box sculpture to help raise awareness of the crisis our Great Barrier Reef is facing and to call for an end to coal mining and the proposed Adani mine in Australia. The giant music box will be on display in October at the annual Buskers by the Creek festival in Currumbin, Oct 13th and 14th.

Guy won both the Environmental Awareness award and the People’s Choice award at the 2017 Swell Sculpture festival on the Gold Coast for his 1:1 scale kinetic wind harp of Migaloo the white whale. The harp is the largest steel bodied string harp in the world, powered by the wind it currently sits in Ashmore on Mr Cooper’s front lawn and google maps as the ‘Big White Whale’. Guy has created the new sculpture as an arts activism piece and functioning music box to call the god of the sea, Poseidon to come and save us all from the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

Mr Cooper says that,

“Patterns and connections can be found in nature everywhere we look; the cylindrical motion of life is seen on a large scale in our solar system and in the smallest cycle of growth and rebirth on our planet. Nowhere is this seen more so than the in coral reef systems and our own Great Barrier Reef. The advancement the industrial revolution has impacted the planet in many ways, as we fight to keep our planet growing, we need to find a sustainable way for life and our construct to grow together. Our government is not making decisions that benefit all our futures and we need to do something about it. May this coral themed music box call upon the god of the sea Poseidon to come save us all.”

Combined with the sculpture is also a song that will be released on Oct 10th entitled ‘Call to Poseidon’. (Spotify link song combines the melody from the music box along with 30+ local musicians, including members of the Gold Coast Home of the Arts choir calling on Poseidon and sharing some love for the cause. Guy is more well known as the owner of the Gold Coast based record label Human Records, music producer and composer for Serotonin Productions and as a musician in a variety of local bands including punk activists Charlie Rebel. He says the song is a thank you to all the protesters and passionate activists who give their time and effort to help make our world a better place. The creation and public display of the Poseidon’s Music Box sculpture aims to bring awareness and along with the song, raise funds to help fight the proposed Adani coal mine. All the proceeds from the sculpture and song will be going to a cause Guy is passionate about, the local #StopAdaniGoldCoast group to help continue the fight.

You can be one of the first to see the music box sculpture in action down at Buskers by the Creek in October. The artist is asking people visiting the sculpture to please take a photo and tag #PoseidonsMusicBox and #CoralNotCoal in your post. Along with your short message about how this sculpture makes you feel or what you think needs to happen to flight climate change and help save the largest living organism on the planet.

The sculpture itself besides being a giant sustainable spinning music box is based on coral formations, sacred geometry and lunar cycles. It lights up at night time with 273 LED lights all powered by the inbuilt recycled solar system. With an honors degree from the Conservatorium of Music, a physics degree in Astrobiology and now masters in Creative Industries, the sustainably powered music box sculpture is a combination of all of artist Guy Cooper’s passions. Guy collaborated with friend, fellow musician and painter Mickey Van Wyk from Emvee Art for the coral patterns on the sculptures arms and vocals on the song.

Guy believes that it is up to all of us to do something, the struggle between big business, coal mining and the environmental concerns of the people has long been a concern for many Australians. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced a decline of over 50% due to coral bleaching since the 1990’s and is hitting a critical point with the loss of this diverse ecosystem.

Comprised of over 3000 individual reef systems, the Australian Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and is the only living thing on earth visible from space (Australia’s Great Natural Wonder, 2017). The entire living organism contains some of the most diverse collections of marine life on the planet. It is the largest living structure on the planet, and resides in Australia’s own backyard. The tourism value alone generated by the Great Barrier Reef is said to be over 6.4 billion dollars each year.\

The continued mining expansion and burning of coal and fossil fuels are directly connected to the loss of this natural ecosystem. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced a decline in size of more than 50% due to coral bleaching since the 1990’s and is now reaching a critical point. Coral bleaching is caused by unusually high water temperature which is becoming more and more frequent with human induced climate change. The proposed Adani mine will be one of the largest coal mines in the world. It is estimated that the mining and burning of coal from the mine will generate 4.7 billion tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over its proposed 60-year operation. This is “among the highest emissions from a single project anywhere in the world. The GHG emissions from the mine thus represent a significant contribution to global GHG emissions and therefore to human-caused climate change.” (Veyron, 2017).

For more info head to

‘Call to Poseidon’ musical sculpture single released today!

Doom & gloom, the earth is dying, greed is winning, our own government doesn’t even believe in climate change haha… but we can all do something to help. Here is my latest effort using the skills I have.

The new single from the sculpture Poseidon’s Music Box (Guy Cooper Sculptor) is released today! ‘Call to Poseidon’ is a call to the god of the sea Poseidon, to come and save us all from the proposed Adani mine in Queensland. This song uses the melody from the sculpture music box that will be on show this weekend at Buskers by the Creek.

ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS SONG ARE GOING TO OUR LOCAL Stop Adani Gold Coast group to continue the fight, so please add, follow, stream and share the song below on Spotify, iTunes and all major distribution channels. (If you want to donate more, you can do so via bandcamp

I wrote this song for all the hardworking and passionate activists that fight every day in this country to do what is right. Our government has its head up it’s ass and it is up to all of us to do the right thing even if our leaders are more fixated on $ than our futures. Give them love and give them peace. Respect the land and we’ll share the seas. Hello sunrise, goodnight to dark skies.

A huge thank you must also go to the following wonderful local musicians that gave their time to come and collaborate on this beast.

Poseidon’s Music Box Sculpture – Main melody
Nathan Williams (Bowser, Kwerkshoppe, Diana Anaid) – Drums
Luke Reichelt (Reichelt) – Guitar, Vocals
Mickey Van Wyk (Mickey) – Guitar, Vocals
Kirk Mesmer (Sook) – Vocals
Cleo Cottone – Vocals
Steve Williamson – Vocals
Michael Simms (My Inner Hyde) – Vocals
Scott Saunders – Vocals
Ike Campbell – Vocals
Kara Towner – Vocals
Gold Coast Home of the Arts HOTA Choir including – Joan Ellerby, Ann Whitlow, Tiffany Storey, Linda Robertus, Carolyn Parker, Christina Tan, Frances Cummins, Katherine Edwards, Chrissy Carter, Gabrielle Vining, Allison Forner, Suzette Sheperd, Karen Millar, Marta Kashyrina, Laka Selby, Vera Thomson, Lynne Ohehir, John Ohehir, Susan Merritt, Nerida Sayer, Cheryl Wheeler, Kiki Loch-Wilkinson, Janet Cahill, Carla Dalton, Fiona Hollinger.
and myself Guy Cooper (Charlie Rebel, Mickey, Sook, Reichelt, Too Right Mate) – Lyrics/Melody, vocals, piano, organ, bass, percussion, violin.

Patterns and connections can be found in nature everywhere we look; the cylindrical motion of life is seen on a large scale in our solar system and in the smallest cycle of growth and rebirth on our planet. Nowhere is this seen more so than the in coral reef systems and our own Great Barrier Reef. The advancement the industrial revolution has impacted the planet in many ways, as we fight to keep our planet growing, humans need to find a way for life and our construct to grow together.
May this coral themed music box call the god of the sea Poseidon to come save us all.

#sculpture #sculptor #artsactivism #musicbox #PoseidonsMusicBox
Australian Youth Climate Coalition Stop Adani Queensland Greens Gold Coast Greens Blank GC Gold Coast Music Gold Coast Bulletin

Giant kinetic solar-powered music box

I have built a giant kinetic solar-powered music box calling on the god of the sea Poseidon to come save us all in Australia from the proposed Adani coal mine.
A big thank you to Samantha Morris and Blank GC for the write-up on the new sculpture and the upcoming Buskers by the Creek.
Fav quote “I believe our government has its head up its ass and the proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland is a disgrace.”
Patterns and connections can be found in nature everywhere we look; the cylindrical motion of life is seen on a large scale in our solar system and in the smallest cycle of growth and rebirth on our planet. Nowhere is this seen more so than the in coral reef systems and our own Great Barrier Reef. The advancement the industrial revolution has impacted the planet in many ways, as we fight to keep our planet growing, humans need to find a way for life and our construct to grow together. May this music box call on the God of the sea Poseidon to come save us all.
INFORMATION SHEET - Poseidon's Music Box Exhibition Info Sheet
Stop Adani Gold Coast Stop Adani Australian Youth Climate Coalition Queensland Greens Gold Coast Greens
#coralnotcoal #poseidonsmusicbox #fortheloveofthereef #artsactivism #sculpture


April 2nd 2018 Sound Sculpture – Poseidon’s Music Box

Construction has begun and figuring out where my focus is.

Throughout the last trimester I have been exploring more theoretical aspects of the sculpture I am creating and thinking more about the ‘purpose’, the why of the physical art and what it can help achieve. The focus was initially based on my own meditative and creative output, exploring the engineering fabrication aspects and design aspects for my own personal education and exploration. Having a creative outlet that was separate from my music and production work to help me relax more. Music hasn’t become a chore, I love it, but my whole life is consumed by musical projects. I think I do a lot of the video, photography and media management work not only to further the music we create, but also to fulfill my desire to explore more art forms.

The construction of sculptures has been exciting, learning how to weld and being able to create what it in my mind without the restraint of not knowing how to physically make it work and put it into action. Through this ‘sculpting career’ move, I have also become more aware of the effect of public art on people and how what I create can affect and inspire the people around me. I saw this in reflection on the ‘Migaloo’s Song’ sculpture last year. I went into it for myself, wanting to build this thing I had an idea for, but I came out at the end with a sea of people I affected with the design and construction of the large-scale machine. The wonderment of the actual object functioning was one thing, but the inspiration that anyone could just buy a welder and make this thing created sense of joy in so many of my friends. Everyone wanted to be a part of it and I had lots of friends wanting to come help make it and the song. A side result apart from the awards and self-fulfillment was the direct inspiration for 4 friends who directly told me that me undertaking the sculpture and achieving it (as well as sharing it online in videos and posts) helped them to overcome the fear of starting a new art form or dream they had always avoided because of insecurity. It also directly affected 2 young Gold Coast school students whom I sponsored with some of the prize money to build their own sculptures for this year’s festival. I didn’t see this effect at the start of the project in Jan 2017, but it’s becoming clearer to me this year. What I could measure though was the effect it also had on the public that saw the sculpture, I wasn’t aware and/or wasn’t concerned with that. Mostly due to the fact that I didn’t even know if I could do it and if I’d be happy with the final result, adding the pressure of making others happy with the result or affecting change would have made it too stressful for me. This year is different though, I have a lot more confidence in the process and now that I have a good model for how the whole situation of designing, building and showcasing public art works, I am keen to create a more defined outcome for the public viewing the piece in addition to my own satisfaction.

So, I want to explore the effect of the audiences sensory and emotional reaction to the sculpture and in turn how public art can help encourage or change or affect the public’s perception on a particular topic. It might not even be a direct actionable response as I had initially suggested a month ago, but may be a change or mindset or a trigger or catalyst for their thinking and this is where I think public art has a purpose.

As I start to propose a question for my final exegesis, I would like to fulfill the following things.

  • Creating a question that I personally don’t know the answer for to ensure I am engaged fully in exploring the topic.
  • Creating an sensory impact in the audience, whether it is emotional, actionable or philosophical, through the visual and sound of the piece.
  • Creating a path for myself to continue exploring and pushing myself in both design and fabrication of the sculpture.
  • Creating a philosophy for my own sculpting career, a 2nd purpose for what I am trying to achieve besides building an awesome thing that interests me.

I will come back to the question, but to start getting the ideas out at this stage perhaps something like,

How can public art create and inspire emotional and change in thinking and philosophical issues?

To help explore the topics above throughout the process of this masters and the sculpture, I am creating an action plan to map out the phases and timeline of both the sculpture design and construction and also the milestones to reflect on the affective qualities and goals of the final piece in relation to an audience. While the Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast in Sept 2018 creates a deadline and an initial public display and audience, it is not the sole destination, but instead I think that it is an example of public art display.

Action Plan

Here’s how I have practiced in the past (detailed review of how I did Migaloo)


How I am going to go about making this one, what is different. Looking at my practice as if it is brand new.

To do this I need to become more critically aware of decisions on my way and make sure that I document them as much as the actual construction process. I need to be able to look back at where I’ve come through my own research so far with regards to sound sculpture. Some of the cycles reflection will be practical construction, some will be on the research and what I have learned.

What is measurable action research?

  • Find way to measure and get data.
  • Do something, reflect, examine, reflect and re adjust.
  • Look deeper into this with a case study on the methodology.

Here’s how I have practiced on the Migaloo’s Song sculpture.

For my initial sculpture last year, I was much more concerned with the actual construction process and simply achieving it for myself. Part of this selfish focus was to remove any excess stress from the project as I didn’t need to do it all in the first place and I was going through chemo at the time. There was probably part of it where I recognized if I put the focus on self development and fulfillment than I could avoid insecurity and fear of judgement from others in the art and sculpture scene as it was a new art form to me and this fear is usually what stops most creative people from undertaking new works.

The sculpture last year started with a 2 month long design process in Dec 2016-Jan 2017, the whale started out as a geometric pattern of strings and plucking parts to a wave made of strings, then a hammerhead shark with strings long ways and ended up being a humpback whale. All three (and the other side tangent designs) were related to sound and music, it was clear to me from the early stage that I was interested in creating sculptures that combined sound, acoustics and music, though it was another 16 months until I discovered the term ‘Sound Sculpture’. I had also just finished an Physics degree in Astrobiology that saw me fixated on the connection of frequency and vibrational wave theory in the development of life in our universe.

Throughout the ‘Migaloo’s Song’ design and construction I was aware and making decisions on the piece based not only on my own interest, but on how it would look and sound to an audience. I think 20 yrs in the music industry has taught me that there is nothing wrong with making music or art that is self-satisfying, but considering how the audience will react or take in the art is also an important skill to have. I think this is where the sculpture moved from being simply a geometric combination of parts to another living creature that would encourage people to ponder the connection between nature and us as humans though music and sound. The following was my artist statement for ‘Migaloo’s Song’ from Jan 2017 before I had begun construction.

Sound and music follows a harmonic structure like that found in nature. There’s connection to our organic world utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with our surroundings. Sound is an auditory perception of the brains response to vibrational patterns observed by our bodies. The combination of art, design and psychoacoustics creates a hidden link that resonates between nature and all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language. – Guy Cooper / Migaloo’s Song

For that sculpture I think there was a decent amount of thought that went into the design and construct of creating some response in the audience, a purpose and connection for the sculpture at the start of the design process. But as the actual construction begun, I focused soley on the fabrication and it wasn’t until it was finished (3 days before swell haha) that I came full circle and started to revisit the extra elements of actionable response in the audience. This was achieved in a small way with the press releases and the song I wrote using the harp and a collection of local artists supporting me on the track.

Press Release Sept 2017 –

There was a lot of reflective moments in regards to the construction, visual appearance and sound of the harp. Every 4-7 days when I had created a new aspect or failed to construct what I had in my mind, I sat down and reflected on the sculpture. Sometimes it was a forced moment of reflection as my body wasn’t physically able to move or stand up, somedays spent in chemo my mind was redesigning the construction, welding, joints and parts perhaps as a way of distraction from the depressing scenes and news in the hospitals. These moments of reflection and meditation were private and personal, in my head only, I didn’t document them or talk about them with others. It was enjoyable for me to not have to discuss them with others, part of the project was something I could just do myself without having to check and manage multiple other opinions, suggestions and needs. The downside of this is that I have developed a better method of working through the creation process to achieve an outcome, but I don’t have any way of easily explaining this process to others. This did occur to me in 2017 through the process, but I honestly didn’t care as it was just for me, at the time I needed to focus on myself to get through everything that was happening.

So this year I will be using this masters course to improve on the process and outcome and also to find a better way to document and explain the process to others and myself.

What Have I done so far and what needs to happen?


I have already begun the design and construction process for ‘Poseidon’s Music Box’. The design started with a combination of research into sound sculpture and geometric design, sound and nature based physics. I had initially wanted to created a sculpture of dying bleached coral using organ pipes, a droning graveyard that re-enforced the environmental issue of coal mining and its direct connection to climate change and the death of the Great Barrier Reef. I would consider myself an environmentalist, there are so many issues with the world, capitalism, greed, violence, poverty, evil motives… lets not get into those, I want to focus on something that I can change. While I work with helping the homeless on the Gold Coast, building a $5,000 whale harp from steel is not the most helpful thing for the homeless.

The design for ‘Poseidon’s Music Box’ begun on Pinterest collecting pictures from the internet and also my own photography with visual design elements that embodied the theme of coral, music, sound, mining and climate change. The concept of having coral out of its ocean environment and on the land, took me towards the succulent plant life which I have always thought looks like land coral. I have a large garden where I spend my time relaxing and meditating and the I have always been fascinated by the geometric patterns in plants and particularly succulent plants. I decided I wanted to create a large scale coral piece that mirrored the underwater coral, but was manmade, this would help explain the concept that our natural coral is dying and one day all we may have is manmade coral to remember what the coral used to look like. The concept also brought the coral issue to the people on the land, not everyone gets the opportunity to go to the reef and dive or snorkel to see the beauty and in turn effect of coral bleaching and death from climate change. I think this is the same concept as ‘Migaloo’s Song’, bringing the 1:1 size and majesty of the humpback whale to the land, so standing next to them you can see and feel the awe of the scale.


Migaloo's Song Night

I also wanted to include some music, not just sounds, but a music piece into the sculpture. The more I research this I find it is less ‘Sound Sculpture’ and more satisfying my interest in marvelous machines. From music boxes to Da-Vinci, perpetual ball bearing machines and orchestrion’s.

A more recent example would be something like the Wintergatan, which is amazing, but has no context to me, its just a big ass amazing machine that sort of makes music.

With all this in mind, I spent 2 months again drawing and collecting large scale and macro images and building different designs in my head. I decided early on I wanted to use chime or steel tubes to generate the musical elements instead of strings this time in order to create something more permeant and all weather. The designs ended up closer to the final concept of Poseidon’s Music Box below.

PERSPECTIVEfinal CROP More design and reflection needs to happen as the project continues. Practical concerns arise as the construction begins that require the concept design to be altered along the way. I want to try and document this as much as possible. There also needs to be a reflection on the design at each stage for simple aesthetic purposes and as my understanding of what I want to achieve with the final piece become more clear.


The construction process is fun and unknown, perhaps it is the unknown factor that makes it fun for me. Part of the desire to create sculptures is that I don’t know how to physically do it and I enjoy a challenge. I do a lot of things in my life, I have too many jobs, but I have always enjoyed doing different things, I sleep less than most people and life is too short to sit around and not get off your ass and do what makes you happy. My time with thousands of musicians, artists, 17 years of lecturing and teaching artists, has taught me that most people never overcome the fear of judgment from being creative. Its sad and depressing to see people trapped in their own minds from fears and insecurities. I have always made it my goal to change this people, I do it for my friends and my students. I have found my purpose in a lot of ways is a catalyst. Either through my words or my actions, it’s what my label does and I can see that effect I have on people in every one of my jobs.

The construction for me is a mountain to climb, it started with sculpture in 2017 where I wanted to learn how to work with metal. Wood was easy and I have built more than enough things (studios, decks, furniture) from wood, but metal was always a disaster for me. I wanted to learn how to weld and overcome the barrier to construct bigger things from steel. I have always been fascinated by steel sculptures that mimicked natural animals and life and wanted to learn to weld steel. It was probably my retirement plan to help me transition from running my businesses into stopping work and relaxing, but when it looked life I wasn’t maybe going to make it that far with the cancer and T1 diabetes, I got up and went and bought a welder. Terrible things and bad times have always snapped me into action, you can sit there and let it drag you into depression, or you can snap yourself out of it and take control of your life.

So the process of learning to weld was watching some YouTube videos and making mistakes. It’s more enjoyable for me to learn through the process and ‘Migaloo’s Song’ has all my first welds. I probably should of started with something smaller, but hey, where’s the fun in that!

For Poseidon’s Music Box, I can easily see the improvement in welding, planning and machinery. I have suppliers for steel, baring’s, gears, motors, solar and renewable energy and I have a much better understanding of the engineering requirements and the bending moments and sheer forces of steel and aluminum. I have had some fabrication advice this year from other sculptors I met through the process last year and also tradies at the supply shops. My welds are cleaner, stronger and the process is much quicker now, I’m also not physically disabled this year being off chemo and have my strength back.

I think the design and construction are combined, you can’t just design whatever you want, physical and logistical restraints need to be considered along with the design aesthetics. For me the construction is simply looking at the physical building and engineering process, but I think I will combine the design research and outcome aesthetics into the construction discussion for the months to come.

Reflection on process and research.

What do I want to know next?

Through this masters course, my direction on what I want to explore has changed and I expect it will continue to do, but each time I’m getting closer to a more defined goal. I feel like I’m spiraling, but spiraling inwards towards a central point that has clarity on what I think and feel. A month or two ago I was focused on sound sculpture and then on art activism, both of which describe what I do and what I want, but as I look at focusing my attention to a more measureable goal and exegesis question, I find that both of those aspects can be discussed with more final intent by applying what I do to the topic of how public art can affect people’s emotions and thinking.

I don’t want to go into this too much right now, I think this is going to be my main topic for the weeks to come and I want to dive into the case study on the action research cycles first so that when I explore the topic more deeply I’m coming at it with more framework for the aspects I need to focus on.

Public art (for the weeks to come)

  • Look at my own ethics and morals.
  • Seeing the relationship between my own morals, and my practice and how I present myself.
  • How can public art affect emotions and thinking in the audience?
  • How can I enact actionable changes with public art installations?
    • How can I focus my public art on a local issue? (Coal mining & Adani?)
  • How much impact does Kinetic Sound Sculpture have over static silent sculpture?

Basic Action Plan

Jan 2018

  • Research
    • Masters based research from 2017 into ‘Sound Sculpture’, affect and aesthetics, personal sculpting career aspects, public art.
  • Design & Construction
    • What do I want to design? Reflecting on how my design can inspire others, how can I affect change
    • What can I physically build and how am I going to draw a concept of this thing in my head?
    • Learning how to draw better, taking design cues from nature and science.


  • Research
    • What is Sound Sculpture?
  • Design & Construction
    • How will the sculpture work mechanically, specifics on the gears, bearings, loading values, sheer forces and bending moments, statics, math and physics.
    • How will the musical element be scored and played?
    • Where can I source all the materials?
    • How can I build it so I don’t need to hire a crane and truck again?


  • Research
    • Art activism and how I can enact change with my art
  • Design & Construction
    • Get stuck into the construction, start at the centre and work my way outwards on the sculpture slowly, reassess at each stage and alter design to suit the visual and practical issues.


  • Research
    • Public art and how I can enact change in the audience.
    • How do I measure and document the process?
    • What do I need to be doing for my exegesis?
  • Design & Construction
    • Finish basic elements and reassess how the aesthetics of the whole structure are working, what needs to be changed to achieve the effects I want.

(I will be on tour in japan for most of May with two different bands, so I will use this month as more research and reflection)

  • Research
    • How can I enact the change I want with my sculpture?
    • What other aspects and methods can I employ to re-enforce the concepts? (recording of the musical piece and produce a song again?)
    • How effective have others been in their public art with effecting change in people?
  • Design & Construction
    • Take lots of pics of sculpture to date so I can reflect while in Japan.


  • Research
    • How do I feel about the effect of the sculpture?
    • How do other people see the effect of the sculpture?
  • Design & Construction
    • Using the visuals and concept so far, compose the musical score that re-enforces the topic and end goal.
    • Embed solar panels, motor, battery and lighting into the structure.
    • Finish main structure.


  • Research
    • Is my sculpture fitting into the goals I have set out to achieve?
    • Deeper reflection on the overall process and am I starting to answer my exegesis question?
  • Design & Construction
    • Begin work on finishing aspects (painting and plants)


  • Research
    • Finishing up the exegesis and bringing all the thought processes together.
  • Design & Construction
    • Reflect on the design and make final alterations and submission to MCI.


  • Research
    • Collecting info and measurable feedback for my own processes.
  • Design & Construction
    • Transport and installation


I will start to the use the information above to mold a method around creating a repeatable process that can be modified and therefore create a model that can be measured. I will find this by looking at other models, which is where the next goal of creating a case study for the action research cycles and visual ethnography will help.

Poseidon’s Music Box (Sound Sculpture concept)


The Project

Continuing from my 2017 sound sculpture Migaloo’s Song (Cooper, G. 2017) I intend to design and build a large-scale sound sculpture music box, with a pre-sequenced progression of chimes that will be entered into the 2018 Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast. The sculpture will be based on coral formations, creating a large moving kinetic man-made coral piece out of steel, mirrors and succulent plant life called ‘Poseidon’s Music Box’.

I will take design cues from both coral and succulent formations and integrate the music box parts into the design. The whole sculpture will be silver, black and contain some surfaces covered in mirrors and succulent plants, helping to blend the man-made and natural elements in the sculpture. The whole structure will be powered by solar renewable energy to turn the music-box and light the structure at night time.

The piece of music generated from the sculpture will be relaxing in contrast to the social noise and chatter of the approximately 15,000 patrons visiting the Swell Sculpture Festival every day in September.

As I progress with my sculpture work, I am setting myself up with a profile of kinetic sound sculptures and geometric design work based on mathematical and patterns found in nature. My previous work ‘Migaloo’s Song’ was based on the Fibonacci Sequence with a series of circles and the song was composed to mimic and coincide to the humpback whale songs. This coral formation sculpture is based on regular quadrilaterals (squares), the rhombus, dihedral groups and will following the design cues from both coral formations, microbial life and succulent plant life.

(my sculpture concept video

My interest in the construction of musical instruments has always been based on the physics of sound and acoustics and my interest in sculpting and ‘Sound Sculpture’ has been developed through my collection of music boxes and Leonardo DaVinci inspired machines over the years. I see the concept of moving towards sculpture and sound sculpture more of an addition from my music career, rather than a new field. I am not overly interested in simply creating sculptures, but more so incorporating music composition, music technology and acoustics into sculpture.

Rather than simply creating sonic environments, my interests are in musical elements and scores to be integrated into the sculptures using my background in acoustics, physics and as a musician, composer and producer.

The connection with natural elements and environmental activism is also important to me, mimicking and taking cues from nature in design and recreating these repeating patterns in my design, while attempting to enact some change and awareness in the audience in relation to the environment.

Overall the sculpture has a few aspects, but the integration of sound sculpture work in the form of a playing musical score, powered by renewable energy approaches the topic from the basis of an environmental statement against coal mining and directly how it is affecting our great barrier reef. Bringing the coral bleaching issue to the audience and making a bold connection between the coal mining in Australia.

The sculpture will be powered by recycled renewable solar energy, showing some solutions available to solve our energy crisis and avoid the reef system being killed by the use of fossil fuels and in turn climate change. In direct response to our government’s statements that renewable energy is noisy and ugly, I will also be showing that a renewable energy device can be aesthetically beautiful, fitting into the landscape down by the beach at Currumbin on the Gold Coast and sound musically pleasing while generating energy. I will also be able to use the power generated to run some LED screens that explain the issues we are facing with mining in this country and what people can do to help push our government towards renewable energy.

What I have recently found through research and exploration of the field of ‘Sound Sculpture’ is the importance of environment and audience in relation to the pieces. This aspect reappears constantly in the discussion of ‘Sound Sculpture’.

Ros Bandt discusses the location and environment of sound sculptures in relation to the audience as one of the important defining factors in his 1991 journal on ‘Public Interactive Sound Sculpture’ (Bandt. Ros, 1991). The concept that the recorded and performance-based music world is often stationary and inanimate, situated in concert halls or in front of a stereo system. He suggests that Sound Sculpture can allow participation from the listener and respects the listener as a creative participant.

The practice of sculpture for myself is based on engineering, mechanics and musical acoustics, although the aesthetic design space is integral to my creations. I have always taken cues from nature and my surroundings and I am fascinated by the geometric designs in nature from the microscopic through to the planetary evolution and forces that shape them. My interest in the biology of life and its combination with physics has been reinforced through my Astrobiology work and I have a drive to recreate this in my sculptures. The fabrication and construction work with my hands also provides a meditative practice for me and allows me to rest mentally.

Creative Merit

Public Art

For art curator Shannon Galpin, the importance of public art, is that it can bring art outside the galleries and place it in our everyday lives (Galpin, S. 2014). Inspiring and invoking change, illuminating activism and the spirt of hope in the public as they engage with it visually set amongst our everyday environment. Public art can surround us and create conversations and controversy, it forces us to have an opinion as we try to understand it’s purpose, starting a two-way conversation. Public art can reach people that may not have previously engaged with art and change their perceptions on certain topics, amplifying the voice of the artist.

The sculpture while fitting into the ‘Sound Sculpture’ field will be a machine that creates wonderment and curiosity in the audience. This in turn helps bring the viewer into understanding the concept behind the art and to draw their own conclusions from the visual and auditory stimulation. The concepts of climate change in relation to mining and the environment are common knowledge and it is my hope that the audience will connect this from their viewing of the piece.


The sculpture and the research attached to the design and implementation will help to contribute to a broader body of knowledge for future sound sculptors and art activists. Through my research and ideation of this project, I will be documenting and providing insight into my processes and perspectives on both the art design aspects and how I intend to integrate the environmental activism outcomes through my art.

The artist Sanaz Mazinani in his ‘Art + Activism’ video (Mazinani, S. 2015) talks about the significance of the artist’s identity and how it becomes as important as the work itself, the understanding of the perspective in which we come from, defines the context of the work and possibly through understanding and education we can better derive a foundation for our own art. Through my work with this piece I hope to provide a case study for others to better work through their own perspectives and how to integrate their intensions into their own art. I would like to ask what is the world like today when you created your art? and how can there be a potential for change through your art?


The medium of sculpture itself, the physical art space, creates a relationship between the artist’s perspective and intension and the viewer. This physical creation forms spaces for conversation and exchange, a new narrative can be formed that engages the viewer to think about the topic of climate change and how their actions are affecting the living organisms that form the coral reefs.

I will be attempting to use sound sculpture and my creative practice to create a new narrative on the topic of climate change, A new set of questions to ask the audience through my art.

Thelma Golden expresses that art can be used to create a new narrative in her presentation ‘How art gives shape to cultural change’ VIDEO 1:55

“I was interested in why and how I could create a new story, a new narrative in art history and in the world, and to do this I knew that I had to see the way that artists work, understand the artist studio as a laboratory, imagine then reinventing the museum as a think tank and looking at the exhibition as the ultimate white paper, asking questions, providing the space to look and think about answers.” (Golden, T. 2013)

 I intend to engage my role as an artist to be a catalyst for this discussion, my intension is for my role to not simply be a content provider, but as a catalyst for change in thought processes and then in direct action.

Marcus Ellsworth also believes that art has a powerful role to play in creating change and connecting people with a new truth on an existing topic. In his 2014 TEDx talk ‘Art as activism’ (Ellsworth, M. 2014) he explains that art is a bringer of change, it has a way of connecting people, inspiring, motivating and moving people’s opinions. That we can use our art to express our truth and enact some change. I see my sculpture work as a chance to get out and tell my truth, unapologetically and without censoring myself to make the world a better place.

Dr Tammy Brown suggests the role of art in pushing for freedom, using art to educate and uplift in her video presentation ‘Art is a weapon for social change’.

“Art has the power to counteract and transcend racism, sexism, classism or any other ism that comes to mind.” (Brown, T. 2014)

Socially and politically engaged art strives to provide a counterpoint to the prevailing images of power and the stereotypes that are fed to us by the media on topics such as democracy, civil and human rights, capitalism and the environment. I suggest that all art is in sense political, as it is about a person’s views and freedom to act, freedom to express ourselves, art is about taking a position and encouraging others to feel that same emotion.

So how can I make a difference to the environment and climate change with the music in my sculpture? While there have been many commercial attempts to raise awareness and funds for the environment and climate change from famous musical artists using their presence to encourage others to take up arms, I intend to focus on my own local neighborhood. Expecting a reach globally is over-ambitious, so I intend to put my efforts towards enacting change in the audiences that will experience the sculpture first hand at the Swell Sculpture Festival in September 2018 on the Gold Coast, with an expected audience of 200,000 people.

There is a large collective of artists on the Gold Coast and Northern NSW and I intend to use my sculpture work to create a collective network of artists that can help drive a more direct change in our local governments thinking in relation to power consumption and renewable energy.

Relevant Context

Art’s Purpose

As an artist it is Important for me to have a voice, to be able to express myself, most artists I have met are driven to do this, to share their emotions with the world. Oscar Wilde was quoted in saying that “All art is quite useless”, while he was most likely being glib, I believe it is simply finding purpose or understanding in art that defines it’s use. Art allows for something that cannot be defined easily, it is difficult to quantify or qualify how anyone person will see your art or predict the ways in which it will affect people. In contradiction to Oscar Wilde, Friedrich Nietzsche said that “We have art in order not to perish from the truth”, I think that art has the ability to take from the past and present and help define what is now and how the future can be.

In Wilson’s 2016 article on ‘The Purpose of Art’, he quotes British artist Anthony Gormley in relation to art.

“Art is about one person’s expectation of and their use of their own freedom to act.” (Wilson, M. 2016)

Wilson also quotes composer Paul O’Neil in relation to great art and emotional response.

“The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time. Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the pieta, the world-famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they’ve never had one.” (Wilson, M. 2016)

Perhaps then the best art should ask you what you think, prompt you to ask questions and put you into doubt. Katerina Gregos (Gregos, K. 2014) suggests that

“Art cracks open cemented opinions and challenges the given. It moves beyond the expected and the known and functions as the conscious of society” it gives voice to the other. “Art highlights important ideas, problems and issues that are sidelined or silenced due to political or economic interests. Art functions as the barometer of society, as a moral or intellectual resistance.”

In her TEDx talk she presents the following ideas,

“Art thinks about the world in its current state and reimagines it as it should be. More importantly, Art is the last frontier of unregulated free expression which is particularly important at a time when the commons public space and information are increasingly being privatized and regulated by the “Neo-liberal” order. In that sense, art is born of and advocates freedom. Artists always see a world full of opportunities, chances, potentials, possibilities and prospects, their ability to go beyond the possible and into the imaginable, should be an example and inspiration for us all.” (Gregos, K. 2014)

Sound Sculpture

In direct relation to my art as ‘Sound Sculpture’, Georgina Born discusses the extension of sound installation art in her book ‘Music, sound and space transformations of public and private experience’.

“The emergence of sound installation art in the second half of the twentieth century reflects fundamental shifts within multiple arenas: conceptions of space and space–time; the ascendancy of site within the aural imagination; the extension of music and sonic arts into expanded sculptural and architectural models; and the role of the public in relation to aesthetic experience.” (Born, G. 2013)

And Niels Van Tomme discusses the added importance of sound art in his article ‘Radical Sound Activism’.

“What is it about sound that is actually able to register a type of critique that may be different from vision, for example? There is a certain kind of intimacy with sound; it moves through time; it does in fact register the evolution and the layering of ideas.” (Van Tomme, N. 2009)

He also goes on to say that,

“It is valuable that people become aware of the emotional relations they have to themselves, to each other and to the conditions they are experiencing. That affective level becomes a form of analysis; it is by registering those things that you are also able to have an additional level of critical reflection.” (Van Tomme, N. 2009)

I would suggest that my work with sound sculpture can also blur the line between activism and art by interrogating the environment and politics that relate to my community. Creating interest through the use of sound and music within my sculpture will bring more interest and create a deeper need for understanding the piece. Making art is bringing something to the world, and sound sculpture is combining music and physical form in the guise of wonderment. 

My own searches for works relating or being called ‘Sound Sculptures’ have found works that can either generate sound and sonic textures including ‘noise’ or un-harmonious sound) such as the ‘Aeolus’ (K. 2011), works that are machines and ‘perform’ structured or pitched musical pieces, such as the Music Box at the Figment interactive sculpture garden in New York (The Music Box. 2018) and also works that simply visually represent sound, such as Penda’s soundwaves in China (Zhi, X. 2015).

Anyone of these three definitions can represent ‘Sound Sculptures’ and it seems that simply including or representing sound in a physical sculpture can define a ‘Sound Sculpture’. My interest is from a musician/composer/producer background and therefore strongly situated in the 2nd definition and creating moving kinetic sculptures that perform a pre-composed piece. I am also interested in having these kinetic sculptures powered by either natural forces or renewable energy.

Licht mentions that David Troop called sound sculpture ‘sound combined with visual art practices’ and that Schulz mentions it is ‘an art form y in which sound has become material within the context of an expanded concept of sculpture y for the most part works that are space-shaping and space-claiming in nature’ (Licht, A, 2009). And that

“Sound art holds the distinction of being an art movement that is not tied to a specific time period, geographic location or group of artists, and was not named until decades after its earliest works were produced. Indeed, the definition of term remains elusive”. (Licht, A, 2009)

Through my work on this project I hope to form a better definition of ‘Sound Sculpture’ in relation to my work and put it into perspective with my professional music career. At this stage my definition of Sound Sculpture is anything physical that generates auditory tones, I disagree that sculptures simply visually representing sound waves are ‘Sound Sculptures’.

Inspirations & References

Kinetic Artists

I am inspired by the new and I tend to be drawn to other sculptors that work the same way instead of simply recreating forms, designs and mediums that have been created before. One of my inspirations for kinetic sculpture work is Anthony Howe. I enjoy the connection between geometric design and nature and attempting to mimic that in my sculpture work. Kinetic and geometric work by artists such as Anthony Howe (Howe, A. 2015). There are many kinetic works online and these form a basis for reference. I hope to create a style and profile for myself as a sculptor with the integration of musical pieces, simple color systems, renewable energy and a connection to the environment and nature.

Sound Sculptors

I like the interactivity and integration of natural elements in Steve Mann’s Hydraulophone. It serves three main roles “as an architectural display fountain, like other large fountains that visually define a landmark, iconic representation, or the like; it provides an aquatic play experience, and it invites people of all ages to “play in the water”; it is a visual art sculpture, a sound sculpture, and a musical instrument, thus bringing art, music, culture, and play into the mix.” (Mann, S. 2006)

Harry Bertoia’s sound-producing visual works are very interesting, although he was not aware of the genre ‘Sound Sculpture’ at the time of his creations. He is quoted in saying the following.

“Man is not important. Humanity is what counts, to which, I feel, I have given my contribution. Humanity shall continue without me, but I am not going away. I am not leaving you. Every time you see some tree tops moving in the wind, you will think of me. Or you will see some beautiful flowers; you will think of me. I have never been a very religious man, not in the formal way, but each time I took a walk in the woods, I felt the presence of a superior force around me.” (Bertoia, H. 1978)

As mentions earlier I like the Cutuchogue sisters Kelly and Ashley Goeller’s Music Box and its interactivity.

“Everyone these days listens to music digitally. It’s very individual,” Ashley said. “We wanted to make it collaborative, so in order to play the song two people have to turn the handles.” (The Music Box. 2018)

Other kinetic pipe organ sculptures I have sourced for inspiration include the ‘Wave Organ’ (Wave Organ, 2016) by Peter Richards and George Gonzalez in San Francisco, which uses the wave and tidal movements to amplify the sound of water and the ocean. The Singing Tree (The Singing, Ringing Tree, 2007) by Tonkin Liu Architects in Burley, UK, a collection of steel pipes that utilise the wind to create sound. The ‘Aeolus’ at the Eden Project’ (Aeolus at the Eden Project, 2011) by Luke Jerram in the UK and the ‘Zadar Sea Organ’ (Zadar Sea Organ, 2015) by Nikola Basic in the town of Zadar in Croatia.

Sound Activist Artists

In relation to sound activist artists, Chisholm talks about composer John Luther Adams’ work with Sila and the effect of sound and music on environmental activism.

“Music is no alternative to environmental activism or climate science or direct exposure to melting ice caps, rising seas, and cataclysmic winds, but it can compose climate-change sensations that directly affect our listening, feeling, and thinking. It can even, I venture, redirect our attention outside ourselves, which is to say outside our ubiquitous, Muzak-saturated commercial environments and our global/local webs of news and social media that tend to be self-enclosing and all-absorbing.” (Chisholm, D. 2016)

While I find this work interesting, my professional work in the arts has cemented the idea of creating musical works that have appeal and interest to non-musical people as well as musicians. Simply creating a cacophony of sound and movement is no doubt art, but the lack of a cohesive format leaves most nonmusical or audio based people uninterested and disconnected.

I will be participating in Concert for the Planet on March 24th with my Migaloo Song sculpture and as part of the HOTA choir. The event will feature a globalized performance by the Gold Coast Philharmonic Orchestra, extended to include over 100 local musicians who will perform Holst’s The Planets under the baton of conductor Lachlan Snow. ( I intend to use this opportunity to attach some video screens to my previous sculpture in order to drive some direct action and change in the audience.


To end I would like to share more from Katerina Gregos’ view on the potential of art from her TEDx talk on ‘Why art is important’. She says in relation to art that

“It’s a subtle power that changes the world one perception at a time.”.

“Art is optimistic because it makes a statement that one person can change the world” and that

“Art as an act of shared communication is in a small way saying: I make the world, I don’t simply inherit it”.



Bandt, R. (1991). Public interactive sound sculpture. Australian Journal of Music Education, (1), 5.

Bertoia, H. (2016). Bertoia Home. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

Gregos, K. (2014, September 02). Why art is important – Katerina Gregos (TEDx). Retrieved March 5, 2018, from

Born, G. (2013). Music, sound and space transformations of public and private experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, T., Dr. (2014, May 23). Art is a weapon for social change – Dr Tammy Brown (TEDx). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from

Chisholm, D. (2016). Shaping an Ear for Climate Change. Environmental Humanities,8(2), 172-195. doi:10.1215/22011919-3664211

Cooper, G. (2017, September 27). Migaloo’s Song. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from

Ellsworth, M. (2014, November 15). Art as activism – Marcus Ellsworth (TEDx). Retrieved March 6, 2018, from

Fontana, B. (2008). The relocation of ambient sound: urban sound sculpture. Leonardo41(2), 154-158.

Galpin, S. (2014, February 18). Art as activism – Shannon Galpin (TEDx). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from

Golden, T. (2013, February 24). How art gives shape to cultural change – Thelma Golden (TEDx). Retrieved March 6, 2018, from

Howe, A. (2015, June 12). Full Compilation of Kinetic Masterpieces by Anthony Howe. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from

(2011, September 22). Aeolus at the Eden Project. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

Licht, A. (2009). Sound Art: Origins, development and ambiguities. Organised Sound14(1), 3-10.

(2015, March 10). Zader Sea Organ. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from

Mann, S. (2006, December 07). The Urban Beach Meets Steve Mann’s Hydraulophone. Retrieved March 2, 2018, from

Mazinani, S. (2015, June 30). Art + Activism – Sanaz Mazinani. Retrieved March 6, 2018, from

Music Box. (2018, February 18). Retrieved March 1, 2018, from

(2007, January 07). The Singing, Ringing Tree. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

Wilson, M. (2016). The Purpose Of Art. Retrieved March 5, 2018, from

Wave Organ (2016, April 24). Wave Organ. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

Van Tomme, N. March 11, 2009. (2013, May 17). Radical Sound Activism – FPIF. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from

Zhi, X. (2015, March 31). Pendas soundwave pierces the myrtle tree garden. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from

Migaloo’s Song sculpture heading to Concert for the Planet on March 24th

Migaloo’s Song will be lifting off again and heading to Home of the Arts for the Concert for the Planet on March 24th to help celebrate Earth Hour.
He will be singing his song and our HOTA Choir will also be performing on the day. Guy Cooper Sculptor

CIM401.1 Experimental Project Report

Please visit the link above to view the video presentation. I have also provided a text version below if any of the voices are annoying or difficult to understand, the links from the video are also available below, as are the references, enjoy 🙂


Research Report
Guy Cooper

What is being experimental? Is there anything in art that is truly unique and new to everyone and does that define what experimentation is all about? Is doing something new and unexplored enough to be considered an experiment or is there a deeper discussion that needs to take place in order for a project to be considered truly experimental?

A process is considered an experiment when the outcome has yet to be tested and proven, taking a path that is yet to have a defined outcome. In the arts, perhaps is yet to have a place and purpose in its chosen field.

In music, it is said that.

“Being an experimental artist often means that your music challenges listeners. It’s a beautiful artform where you imagine what hasn’t been done – you explore areas that aren’t traditionally “safe.” In music, and all arts, avant-garde artists are the ones who end up making new genres and creating new movements.”[1]

Part of the experimental process requires you to use your imagination and explore possibilities of things that have yet to be, deliberately moving towards areas that are traditionally unsafe and attempting to challenge the audience into rethinking the concept, field or genre of what they are experiencing. Being experimental and innovative can also be doing something unfamiliar with older familiar things. Taking a well-defined existing process or product and changing the purpose or delivery, innovating with an existing topic and challenging how it is perceived.

“Innovation does not necessarily mean something new. It means doing something unfamiliar, often with old familiar things.”[2]

The combination of art and structure through technology and science can be experimental. In the example of BlingCrete, an experimental light reflecting concrete, an existing and widely used construction material is redefined into a visual art form. A material that was previously used as construction transformed into a living canvas for visual design. While this is not an entirely new concept, it shows a system that involves both the artistic and scientific lines of inquiry in equal measure and promotes dialogue about them.[3]

Perhaps it is that dialogue that is the important aspect of the experimental. Creating a new discourse of thinking from the creation of the art is possibly what ends up defining something experimental. If there is no previous discourse or dialogue about the piece, then its existence is creating a need for a discussion and in part a new definition.

Breaking down experimentation into 4 possible areas we can start to more deeply discuss how we can define being experimental, technology, technique, process and audience.


Utilising new technology or old technology in a new way is one path to being experimental. The rise of digital processing equipment and in particular its availability to the amateur or home user has opened up many fields of production in the arts to new and younger users. While there has been a focus on redesigning old processes with the new digital equipment, there are some that are using the new technology in different ways. The unconventional learning of the technology and its use in the home setting by nonscholarly artists plays a large role in the outcomes becoming experimental. A more traditionally taught artist would not explore the bounds of their art form as much if they have been taught in a structured way. What is acceptable and what isn’t. They may have a more thorough understanding of what has been done in the past, but they are usually less likely to step outside this structure unless directly asked to be experimental.

Perhaps either stepping out of your comfort discipline or completely redefining how you use the technology around you can help you become more experimental with technology.


Approaching a topic or artform from a different perspective or expanding on the concept could be considered experimental. Developing new ideas and concepts on from a different angle can provide a whole new area of exploration. Often we are directed to the “correct” technique for each art form through our education system. A series of defined paths that lead to the desired outcome that is qualitative for the purpose of definition and grading.

Experimentation in technique is not supported through our western educational system, in music the pre-defined technique of writing or composing using a set structure of chords and notes will typically deliver a mainstream aesthetically pleasing project. Deliberately breaking the rules can start to lead you down a path that opens up to experimentation and something new.


Similar to technique, the process you undertake of making your art, can lead itself to be very experimentational. It may be going about the creation of your project with different tools or executing the creation of the art form in a different way to before. Perhaps the creation of the product is being done live and on the spot, perhaps you can take a new direction right from the start with different elements. Whatever you choose to do you should try and walk the path most unfamiliar to you, what would be the furthest thing from your usual process. How can you change and come at the creation from a different perspective?


Redefining the audience’s role or what the audience is expecting to hear, see, feel can also be considered experimental. We have so many preset expectations for art in the modern world. What is it? Why is it? is often already answered long before the audience even engages with the art. A visual canvas in a gallery has already so many predefined expectations, an audio piece you find in Spotify, a video that is delivered in the cinema or on Netflix under the ‘Action Movie’ section. The audience’s expectation of the art based upon it distribution point sets a series of guidelines for what is about to happen and what they may experience. Changing this norm can create an uneasy feeling for the audience and a confusing or misunderstanding and interpretation of the art. But this is where the experimental lives, challenging or forcing the audience to define their own perspective, their own interpretation of the art often engages the audience in a more thoughtful way and leads the piece to a new area of experimentation.

My project this trimester will be based upon multi-disciplinary experimentation. I will be attempting to touch on and pass through all four areas of experimentation and the process of attempting to do so will be an experimentation in the technique itself.

“Pragmatically, cross-disciplinary experimental research demands multi-objective evaluation. It is argued that projects of this nature can easily have multiple modes of success, multiple modes of failure, or an interesting mixture of successes and failures when measured from different viewpoints. These projects are referred to as “multi-component” in the sense that they are composed of elements that work together to create a unity and yet, when separated, each component should still function independently—these projects are therefore amenable to deconstruction.”[4]

Focusing on drawing and poetry as the main driver and then incorporating music and sound along with an interactive and moving image delivery to make the audience redefine how they are receiving the art and what genre or field the art actually fits into will be one of the main focuses. Utilising some possible interactivity with the audience in the form of a choose your own adventure piece and requiring the audience to follow cues targeted at different senses, visual, auditory and emotional. Delivering a poem that is actually a drawing, that could also be considered a song, that is conceptually a moving image and then returning to being a poem. Not designed to be any one art form and its distribution to the audience will be altered and placed in conceptually challenging places. It can be viewed as a poem and drawing delivered on Spotify and youtube and also a song delivered on blogs and Instagram for example.

I have always loved the multi-disciplinary use of story and visuals mixed with music, opera is a very defined process that also incorporates live performance, but also musical storybooks. Stories such as Peter & the Wolf have been delivered in a large variety of different formats and versions, from books to film and symphony, this version[5] from the chamber orchestra of Europe and the Spitting Image Workshop shows a good example of a project that is neither solely music, stage, film or story, but instead incorporates all four. Another favorite of mine is Harry Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from the 1971 movie “The Point”[6]

Recalling back to our google sheet and goals stated for CIM401 and our projects, for us to make the most of this trimester we should be,

Screenshot 2017-09-26 17.51.06.png

Doing something new

-Getting out of our comfort zone

-Keeping it new and sticking to it

-Ignoring the haters

I’ll be Rebuilding society from the ground up and looking if anyone wants to join me. I would like to challenge you all to follow this and really move out of your comfort zone and possibly discipline into an area that forces you to experiment. Something new, not just for you, but so new that you can’t find an existing path to follow. So far out of your comfort zone that you don’t know what you’re doing. Sticking to it and Ignoring any haters including the ones in your head. Don’t doubt yourself that it’s not good or not new…. if you make it with your hands and heart, then it is good.

Rebuilding society from the ground up sounds like a large task, but for me, it is just about starting that avalanche, pushing that tiny stone off the edge into the scary and unknown. Deliberately walking a path that changes the audience’s perception of what your piece of art is, taking the audience into your song or film or story and leading them into something new without their awareness and forcing them to redefine what it is they just experienced.

So right now, I challenge you all to respond to this presentation not only in words but in any way you choose on this google drawing sheet. It might be a color or a shape or a picture or meme you copy and paste, an interpretive dance or pose, or whatever your brain and body is feeling right now. Close your eyes, cross your toes, put yourself in an uncomfortable zone and let flow and define with your expression what experimental means to you.

And remember no guts, no glory, don’t just step outside your comfort zone, build a giant metal whale and ride that sucker down the main street until you forget where you are supposed to be. Don’t turn around and look back at the haters, smile, breathe and move forward, explore your way past insecurity, scare the fears out of your mind and trust yourself when you are free-falling, the end doesn’t need a definition.

You all remind of the babe, the babe with the power…. You have 4:02 mins of this link playing to respond on the google sheet, Dance Magic Dance[7]

[1] Sonicbids. “What Separates Experimental Artists Who Get Mainstream Attention From Those Who Don’t?” Sonicbids Blog – Music Career Advice and Gigs. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[2] Jameson, A. D. “What Is Experimental Art?” BIG OTHER. March 12, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[3] “BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process.” BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[4] “Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research.” Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[5] TheBananaNababa. “Peter and the Wolf: A Prokofiev Fantasy.” YouTube. February 14, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[6] MVDEntertainmentGrp. “Harry Nilsson The Point: The Definitive Collectors Edition – trailer.” YouTube. July 15, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[7] Edward982. YouTube. October 17, 2014. Accessed October 01, 2017.


Guy Cooper’s “Migaloo’s Song” sculpture receives Environmental Awareness award at 2017 Swell Sculpture Festival & “We Become the Fire” single released with Kinetic Wind Harp and Gold Coast Musicians.

It’s great to see a big project come to full fruition and this song is the final piece of the sculpture I made for SWELL Sculpture Festival this year, Migaloo’s Song.

Music follows a harmonic structure like that found in nature. We as humans have a connection to our natural world, utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with all living things on our planet. Sound is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our senses. Art, design and psychoacoustics create a hidden link, that connects all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language.

A giant kinetic wind harp shaped like Migaloo the white whale. An instrument and wind-powered music box that plays a score in 3-part harmony I wrote that correlates to the humpback whales song in E major 7. The piece was honored to also receive the Environmental Awareness award from the Max Fabre Foundation and Leanne Sanderson, the sculptures lights and audio is powered by the wind and sun and brings awareness to the connection between nature, science. The world around us is deeply intertwined, we are responsible for the planet and our government could be doing a hell of a lot more, starting with stopping the Adani coal mine and helping to save the Great Barrier Reef.

The full meaning of the sculpture and why I built it is a symbolic and emotional expression of how I feel. Through a series of unfortunate events, life can deal you some bad situations. This sculpture represents to me the energy and passion to break through that, rise above it for myself and do something epic, challenge myself to do better and bring it to life. You are in control of your actions, sometimes things seem insurmountable, but these are the moments you need to stand up and move forward. You can give into depression and let trauma eat you alive, burning in the flames… or you can become the fire.

Break my heart, break my head, I’m getting stronger.
Throw me around, then turn me upside down.

Rising-up and making the most of it, shining lights to show me the way,
Raise the globe up with a little love, raise it with your hands each day.

I know I can do better than, better than the way I am,
I know we can do better than, so get up and take my hand.

Love and thanks to all my friends and family and especially the amazing Gold Coast musician souls that helped me write, perform and sing on this track. Please check it out and donate if you feel inspired, all proceeds from the song are going to Sea Shepard Australia to help protect the whales…and Migaloo. Please head to…/guy-cooper-we-become-… to hear the song and donate to Sea Shepherd Australia.

Guy Cooper (Charlie Rebel, Mickey, Sook, Reichelt, Too Right Mate) – Lyrics/Melody, Vocals, Keys, Migaloo’s Song Harp, Percussion.
Nick Rebel (Charlie Rebel) – Guitar, Vocals
Chris Torr (Charlie Rebel) – Drums
Teigan Amy Le Plastrier (Being Jane Lane EP) – Vocals
Mickey Van Wyk (Mickey) – Vocals
Ben Le Strange (The Ok Cowboys) – Guitar
Jules Cottonbud (Julia Rose) – Vocals, Bass
Kirk Mesmer (Sook) – Vocals, Guitar
Loustar (Banks of the Beautiful) – Vocals
Benny Danny Willy (Benny D Williams – Music) – Vocals, Percussion
Kate Leopold (Leopold’s Treat) – Vocals
Felicity Lawless (Felicity Lawless) – Guitar
Lecia Louise Mcphail-Bell (Lecia Louise) – Vocals

You can also still vote for #17 Migaloo’s Song in the Swell Sculpture Festival People’s choice award at

Frankensteining a white whale !

Frankensteining a white whale !

Serious construction has begun for the sculpture i’m making for the Swell Festival on the Gold Coast in September this year. Its a 1:1 scale kinetic wind harp shaped after Migaloo the white humpback whale. Tuned to Emaj7 and it will be playing a song I wrote to mimic the humpback whale song.

Sound and music follow a harmonic structure like that found in nature. There’s connection to our organic world utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with our surroundings. Sound is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our bodies. The combination of art, design, and psychoacoustics creates a hidden link that resonates with nature and all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language.

SWELL Sculpture Festival…/migaloos-song-sculptu…/