Evidence of Toolmaking

The use of bone constituted a significant shift in materials for me. I had been searching for a way to make the human-technology connection more explicit and so I began experimenting with bone as a substrate for my devices. It’s a wonderful material, with properties that fall somewhere between those of wood and stone. Its fluid shapes contrast with the truncations introduced by the saw, and yield objects less formal than my marquetry pieces, more akin to the organic nature of the electronics within. By literally integrating electronics and bone, the teleprosthetic relationship between man and technology becomes manifest. At the same time there is an inherent ambivalence to many of the objects since the electronics is, in a sense, both “feeding off of” biological remains and simultaneously reanimating them. This double-edged nature is analogous to the genetic yet alienated, empowering yet at times atrophying, relationship we have with our tools.

Just as a tool is a very fundamental extension of our humanness, immediate and handheld, these objects are intended to be adjusted, held, played with and interrogated.

Device I (Console)

Bone, meter, push button switch, LEDs, embedded microprocessor.

(6"x4"x3¼") 2/2002
Device II (Handheld)

Bone, meter, LEDs, push button switch, speaker, embedded microprocessor.

(6½”x5”x2”) 2/2002


Tallow rendered from bones, aluminum, meter, custom circuitry.

(12" dia. x 3") 3/2002

Evidence of Toolmaking VI

Bone, meter, custom circuitry.

(9"x6"x3") 2/2002
Evidence of Toolmaking I

Meter, bone, custom circuitry.

(9"x6"x4") 7/2000

The Stuff Nightmares are Made of

Instrumented bone, mercury switches, found electronics. Walking down the street one day, I found in the gutter a small circuit board attached to a broken fragment of plastic. At the end of the one still-attached wire was a terminal of the sort used to connect to small speakers. Patterns on the board suggested spots where two small button cell batteries had once been connected and three locations were etched to accept input from rubber membrane contact switches. I attached a speaker between the wire and ground, applied 3 Volts to the battery terminals, and used my finger to engage one of the switch locations. Re-animated, the board spoke to me, saying the words: “You shall perish.”

(15"x5"x5") 9/2001
Evidence of Toolmaking II

Meter, bone, custom circuitry, variable speed control.

(8"x3"x9") 8/2000

bioart bioarte

biological systems in art barcelona