Project Larynx (2018 – ongoing)
Since 2018, I have been working on an experimental project to produce a vocal-capable robot without relying on digital sound processing methods or the use of inbuilt speakers. Having gone through hundreds of iterations, this project differs from the way I have previously built machines as it is not built exclusively as an art piece.
I am developing this project using 3D printers and silicone casted parts. The machine uses shape-shifting resonators to form a vocal tract and a silicone reed driven by inhaling and exhaling lungs. Generating vocal realism that is both coherent and pleasant is a challenge. Precision part making and choice of materials need to be considered in order to achieve an acceptable level of consistency when controlling the robot. The accumulated attempts in making this machine should reveal some exciting sound-making possibilities and hopes to uncover some mysteries of the human voice.
Penhaligon’s mechanical arm (2021)
In Build instore fabrication company commissioned this mechanical arm for Penhaligon’s. Built out of CNC’d brass, aluminium and a 3D printed hand driven by a timing belt mechanism. The arm was dressed and formed part of a Christmas display pop-up store in Selfridges London.
CNC Machine (2018)
a compact 4-axis CNC machine Felix designed and built. Currently located in Japan.
Adhoc Machine (2013)
A commissioned interactive sound sculpture. Exhibited at Adhocracy in Athens 2015.
Felix Thorn's automated machines developed from the intersection of his interests in improvisational music, computer software, electronics, and synaesthetic visual and sound art. His machines do not begin from a preconceived blueprint, but rather from a gradual build-up of piecemeal decision-making processes. Adhocracy hosts Thorn's latest instrument ‘Ad-Hoc Machine’, which disassembles and recombines the components of a pressing machine for mass-producing CDs, transforming their function from data transfer to live sound creation. In the same vein, the digital software intended for creating electronic music has been adapted to trigger the physical motion of the various components. The final creation thus cannibalises on the apparatus of industrial manufacture to give birth to a system open to evolution and experimentation.
Music Box 2 (2016)
Music Box 2 – A specially commissioned miniaturised version of Felix’s Machines. This music box incorporates personalised parts of the owner mechanically played with small hammers and lights adjustable via inbuilt faders.
The Moleskine Orchestra (2012)
A special edition of Felix’s Machines that transforms Moleskine products into music-making sculptures.
Felix produced a bespoke MIDI-controlled system that played back music written for the Moleskine Orchestra. The orchestra premiered in a shop window display at La Rinascente in Piazza Duomo for Milan design week. The project was later upgraded into an interactive installation whereby users operate a MIDI theremin to trigger the sculptures. Further installations were held at ‘Blickfang Design Exhibition’ in Hamburg, and a makers' festival in Rome.
Music Box 1 (2009)
A miniaturised version of Felix’s Machines, with individual faders for controlling the speed of its beaters alongside LEDs.