I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Lucas Abela: Running At High Speed With Amplified Knives


by Network Awesome
July 13, 2011
With the nerves of a daredevil and the heart of an artist, Lucas Abela has pushed many extremes throughout his carer. Known recently for his gut-wrenching performances using amplified glass - which Abela plays with his face and occationally eats - he's often pushed public safety limits in search of exquisite new sounds.  His newest installation, "Vinyl Arcade" isn't nearly as dangerous to the eye as it is to the ear. We caught up with him to find out more.

NA - The first clip of our show today is a documentation of your newest piece called "Vinyl Arcade". Can you tell us briefly about what it is and how long it took you to conceive and build it?

Well it was conceived a long time ago in the mid 90's but back then i didn't really have the resources to conduct such a big experiment so left it on the back burner of my mind for years.  The work was conceived as a way to continuously run a needle across records, so i thought if the stylus was attached to a remote control car and it was driven over records that would do the trick.
This alter evolved into the arcade premise as i wanted to be able to control the cars from their own POV and while searching for controllers found these broken arcade machines so decided to mount the controls into them and then build a track for racing.

NA - Your earlier work was extreme. You used to (and I quote your own site here) "stab vinyl with Kruger style stylus gloves, perform deaf defying duet duels with amplified samurai swords, [and was] hospitalised by high powered turntables constructed from sewing machine motors". Do you consider this to be an extension of your previous Turntablist work?'

This was all turntable work in one sense or another.  The gloves and motors for certain, as basically the gloves were used to play records and the motors although i left behind traditional tone arms and started using swords instead as styli and then forgoed vinyl replacing it with anything circular and textural. But it was turntablism to me - more of a tactile turntablism were the info on the records wasn't important, i was more into textures and the sounds they would make running at high speed with amplified knives.  These knives and swords were connected to mag carts from turntables so i think its fair game to consider it an extension of turnablism.  Especially considering that i could use an amplified sword like this to actually play records, even without amplification the blade would act like a soundboard and make quite an audible rendition of the records information.

NA - The controls of each car have a few basic audio effects. Do you consider this to be a musical instrument? ' Is the Vinyl Arcade to be used so expressively?'

Yes off coarse and it can be played as such.  My favourite moments when vinyl arcade was installed at the Donau Festival was when the audience would prefer to jam the controls and play incredible synth rhythms without bothering to drive the cars. People would bring their own to the instrument.

For more info: http://dualplover.com/vinylarcade.html

Installation views:

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Questions by Network Awesome writers and editors. We're a lot of fun - you can find us at apocalypse-themed parties, museums of science and industry, and snarky media-obsessed websites.