Sound sculptor Trimpin at the Richard L. Nelson Gallery

Trimpin is the MacGyver of audio-visual art.

Trimpin is the MacGyver of audio-visual art.

Photo By Photo by shoka

Nelson Gallery

1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-8500

Trimpin is a trip.

The German, Seattle-based composer, inventor and sculptor has the aptitude to make the unimaginable—an organ played by fire, an astonishing percussion instrument made with liquid dropping into buckets (see it at—into reality.

Fascinated by sound, Trimpin’s efforts at playing brass and woodwind instruments as a youngster were thwarted by allergic reactions to his lips and mouth. To quell his curiosity to make music, he created his own mechanic and kinetic acoustic instruments that needn’t be touched. Through his grasp of physics, engineering and computer programming, the brilliantly mad scientist/artist breaks through limits and creates complicated installation pieces that investigate and sculpt sound, like Sheng High, which is currently at the Richard L. Nelson Gallery. This piece is basically a giant sheng (an ancient reed instrument) that sounds a droned note when a pipe is lowered into a container of water and air is pushed through the reed. The pipes are programmed to be dropped to melodies that are “written” with reflective tape on a large, wooden, circular “CD” by a rotating armature of sensors.

Trimpin’s imagination and combination of analog and digital technologies is the art here. The experience is not only audible, but visual, with the unremarkable items—plastic bins, carabiners, metal poles—that equal a sum greater than its parts. Take advantage of this region’s good fortune by going down the road to Davis and actually experiencing this art firsthand.