Southern Marine Music Test Rig


“… the sea activates Robbins' work, which is in turn influenced by the changing tides, passing boats, wind and weather.

The 'Test Rig' is significantly positioned outside Hobart's major scientific research building…housing a number of 'organ pipes' tuned to an F minor chord. At low tide, only the thick industrial-looking metal pipes create sound, soft, low hooting noises, mostly triggered by passing sailboats. At…high tide however, the viewer is confronted by the comparatively aggressive honks of bass and alto recorders activated by the higher water level.

The rhythms created by the pipes, while unpredictable, uneven, and at times ear-splittingly shrill, are in harmony with the lapping of waves on the nearby shore, boats chugging by, the shrieking birds and the horn of a ship leaving for Antarctica. Interestingly, it's the ambient noises, those not created by Robbins' experimental instrument, that end up being the focus of attention.”

– Nicole Durling, senior curator at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).

A site specific sculpture installation that translates ocean wave patterns into music via organ pipes, commissioned for MONA FOMA 2009.