Years ago, I was having a nerdy discussion about theremins with a friend, who informed me that there was a guy in Duluth who built them. He sent me Tim Kaiser’s website address. It was filled with photos of crazy sci-fi contraptions that made all kinds of even crazier noises. Evil mad science happening in a basement right here in Duluth. This week in Selective Focus, Tim Kaiser explains his combination of audio and visual art.
TK: I create experimental “music” with non-traditional instrumentation. Because I am less concerned with normal conceptions of melody and rhythm, I require different tools to create sonic atmospheres. This led me to design and build my own instruments and devices. I started out as a typical frustrated guitarist, but was drawn to more and more avant garde music and finally put the guitar away.
If you include my performance art projects and film/video productions (of which the soundtracks became more & more important to me) I’ve been doing this 35 years.
Like many artists, I held a series of low wage, crappy jobs and did my creative work on the side. I would occasionally sell some crazy thing I built on eBay, but still had to feed the kids and pay the bills with some consistency. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq, I worked at a convenience store for a moron who wanted me to hand out pro-war propaganda. After the obvious parting of the ways, an eBay client contacted me to tell me that he in fact worked for DuranDuran and Nick Rhodes. They heard about my new unemployment through an errant email and offered me enough commission projects so that I wouldn’t miss my paltry paycheck for a year. They made good on their promise and I never looked back. I now split my time between touring/performing and building wacko experimental instruments on commission. The current wait list is about a year and a half.
You can see my work on my site http://tim-kaiser.org or at a live show. I occasionally show pieces in sculpture exhibitions around the US and Europe and through Transistor Gallery in Chicago.
I have a couple of shows in Chicago later in June, and am going on tour for a couple of weeks in August and hitting a couple of Music Festivals along the way. (details on my website).
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